Paul Maurice officially confirms lineup change for Game 7.

Paul Maurice officially confirms lineup change for Game 7.

The head coach of the Florida Panthers is making a single change with the season on the line.

Jonathan Larivee

The Florida Panthers are changing things up before the final game of the 2023-24 National Hockey League season.

The Panthers will be entering Game 7 tonight coming off of 3 consecutive losses at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final, and I suppose for that reason alone it shouldn't come as a shock that Paul Maurice is looking for some way, any way, to breathe some life into his lineup.

Maurice confirmed on Monday that he will be making a single change to his lineup for Game 7, putting veteran NHL forward Kyle Okposo back in the lineup for the first time since Game 5 of the series where he clocked just 7 minutes and 13 seconds of ice time. In that game Okposo wasn't much of positive factor for the Panthers, contributing no points but picking up a pair of penalty minutes and finishing the game with a plus minus rating of -1.

Okposo drawing into the lineup of course means that one member of the Panthers will be sitting on the sidelines, with Maurice confirming that Nick Cousins will not be on the ice in Game 7. Cousins appeared in his first game of the Stanley Cup Final in Game 6 and was on the ice for 9 minutes and 48 seconds of ice time, finishing the game with a plus minus rating of 0, but it would seem Maurice didn't like what he saw out of Cousins over that stretch.

There may also be a psychological motive to this change on the part of Maurice, with the Panthers head coach perhaps hoping that Okposo's presence will light a fire under the other Panthers players. Okposo may very well be playing in what will be the final game of his NHL career later tonight, and I believe Maurice is hoping that it will spark his players when they look down the bench and see Okposo fighting for his last shot at a Stanley Cup championship.