Stanley Cup Final: Keys, prediction for Panthers-Oilers

"Everyone has a game plan for this young man. It's not working. It's not going to work for the rest of his career."

That was Paul Maurice in 2016, then the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, talking about Connor McDavid. Fast forward eight years and Maurice is readying his Florida Panthers for that exact task. For the first time, McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are playing in the Stanley Cup Final. Hockey fans have waited nearly a decade to watch the Edmonton Oilers' superstars on the biggest stage.

To be clear: This series isn't about only them, but it is a unique opportunity for the league to have its best player in prime time. For our Cup finals preview, we look at key points of difference in the series, which team my model favors and why, along with a projection on the series result.

The model is a neural network that accounts for player strength; offensive, defensive and special teams performance; goaltending; matchup ratings; and rest. As the model ingests data, it improves, with the heaviest weights on recent play. The model allows for players to be added and removed, with their impact on the game results measured.

Here are the keys to Panthers-Oilers, with Game 1 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN+).