Kris Knoblauch stated boldly he was looking forward to the next 10 days.

The Oilers head coach shared those feelings hours before his team faced elimination down 3-0 to the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.

Edmonton then went out and thumped the Eastern Conference champions 8-1 to earn a stay of execution.

Knoblauch — confidently, again — is now eyeing the next eight days he expects his team to spend together.

There remains, however, zero margin for error.

The Oilers face another back-against-the-wall, no-tomorrow test Tuesday against the Panthers still trailing the best-of-seven title series 3-1.

On the heels of Edmonton's emphatic Saturday home triumph that had fans celebrating late into the night around Rogers Place, Knoblauch's group is firmly focused on buying yet more time and, as superstar captain Connor McDavid said after Game 4, "Drag (the Panthers) back to Alberta."

Knoblauch's words — he really had nothing to lose — could have served as bulletin board material for the other side.

But the rookie coach, hired in the fall with Edmonton in a 3-9-1 tailspin, had reason to share his unwavering belief publicly.

Apart from the Xs and Os, his job has never been about confidence — or keeping it high. He's instead focused on not allowing frustration to creep into his ultra-talented roster.

That was the mission six weeks into the season, in the playoffs, and over the course of this series, where the Oilers feel they could very easily be up 3-1.

"They've been counted out," Knoblauch told reporters Monday following practice at Amerant Bank Arena. "Others have said, 'They're done, they're not that good, it's over.' Whether that was in November or throughout the playoffs.

"It doesn't mean anything to them."

The Oilers' attack meant a lot in Game 4, exploding after being largely held in check by Florida.

McDavid led the way with four points, while Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finally got on the scoresheet as Edmonton took an initial step toward potentially becoming the fifth team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-0.

And just the second in a final, some 82 years after the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

"If you look at the top of the mountain right now, it's pretty steep," Draisaitl said. "But taking one day at a time doesn't sound so bad."

The Oilers put a dent in Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 82-of-86 shots through the first three games before he got the hook after allowing five goals on 16 pucks on target Saturday.

"We're not going to decide how he plays (Game 5), we're not going to decide how their team plays," said Edmonton defenceman Darnell Nurse, who ended Bobrovsky's night with his first goal of the post-season. "We're not going to decide what calls are called.

"We can only control what we can control."

That calm approach is something Knoblauch brought with him when he was thrust into a hockey-crazed Canadian spotlight with a floundering Cup contender seven months ago.

"Found a way out of it," said Nugent-Hopkins, whose team is aiming to force Game 6 in Edmonton on Friday. "He has belief in us and we have belief in each other."

The Oilers have demonstrated an ability to push back all season. Knoblauch has been steering that ship.

"A very resilient group," Draisaitl said. "You don't want to find yourself in these situations too many times, but we've always done a really good job of collectively pulling on the same rope together. It's not individuals, it's all of us together.

"Love playing for each other."

The big German added the belief Knoblauch has is justified.

"It'd be a shame if he didn't have confidence in us by now," Draisaitl said with a smile. "Faced a lot of adversity this year, and always found a way to push through.

"There's lots of confidence."

Knoblauch has still made plenty of tough calls throughout the spring.

He sat goaltender Stuart Skinner down 2-1 in the second round against the Vancouver Canucks before returning him to the crease after a two-game reset. Edmonton also trailed the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the Western Conference final.

No panic.

"Never really worried about whatever situation that we're in," Skinner said of Knoblauch. "That belief that we (were) going to spend the next 10 days together ... we've got a lot of work to do and a lot of battle to go through in order to make that happen, but it does a lot for everybody."

"He's been like that all the way through," Nugent-Hopkins added.

The Oilers have faced tough challenges. This is simply another box to check in an adversity-filled campaign.

"Guys who have seen hard times and have persevered," Knoblauch said of his players. "We're just having a lot of fun with it right now.

"Hopefully we can continue this on for another eight days."

The next step is Game 5.