Panthers’ plane to Edmonton delayed by storms

The Florida Panthers’ routine was disrupted Wednesday in advance of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final because of storm-related travel delays as the team headed to Edmonton.

The Athletic reported heavy storms near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., forced the charter jet to take off three hours after their scheduled departure. Now, their plane is scheduled to land at about 8 p.m. local (Mountain) time in Edmonton, less than 24 hours before they face the Oilers on Thursday.

The Panthers are up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported delays, cancellations and standing water on roads at and around the facility on Wednesday.

The Oilers returned to Edmonton on Tuesday after their 4-1 loss in Game 2 in Sunrise, Fla., on Monday night. The Panthers chose to practice at home Wednesday before hopping on the flight.

“We didn’t like the idea of getting them up early enough (after Game 2) to get in at a reasonable time in Edmonton,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice told reporters before leaving Florida. “We did not see a value in it.”

The Panthers have not played in anything but Eastern time since a March 12 game in Dallas.

Their playoff series leading up to the finals were contested in Tampa, Boston and New York. All road games in the final month of the regular season were in the east.

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