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Panthers GM launches water bottle in frustration as team fails to finish off Oilers in Stanley Cup Final

Bill Zito appeared to embody every Florida Panthers fan on Tuesday night during their Game 5 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, keeping the Stanley Cup Final series alive.

With the Panthers down 4-3 in the third period, Oilers star Connor McDavid scored an empty-net goal with 19 seconds remaining in the game. It put Edmonton up 5-3 and the victory brought the series to 4-3.

Zito, the Panthers’ general manager, was seen in the suite at the Amerant Bank Arena throwing a water bottle in frustration.

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“I’m not pumping tires. I’m not rubbing backs. I don’t think we need that at all,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said after the game. “Everybody feels probably exactly the way I do right now. I’m not feeling deflated. Neither’s the hockey team. They’re not feeling deflated. Little grumpy.”

Florida lost Game 4 in Edmonton over the weekend, 8-1. Coming back home felt like an opportunity to raise the cup in front of the home crowd.

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Sam Reinart in disbelief

But the good feelings began to slip away as Corey Perry put the Oilers up 4-1 at the 11:54 mark in the second period. Evan Rodrigues scored to cut the deficit in half later in the period and Oliver Ekman-Larsson made it a one-goal game early in the third.

Florida couldn’t score again.

“We’re going to turn the page,” Rodrigues said. “We’re going to learn from this one.”

Connor McDavid celebrates

Game 6 is set for Friday night back in Canada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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