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Panthers @ Oilers Game 43 Preview

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With Oilers' surprising victory against the Blackhawks on Friday, can they make it two in a row with a victory against Florida?

Panthers ready for playoff push?
Panthers ready for playoff push?
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports


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oilers logo black text
19-11-9, 47 points, 1.206 p/g Ranks 10-23-9, 29 points, .690 p/g
Eastern Conference - 9th Western Conference -14th
13th P/G 30th
6th ST 25th
11th ES 26th
12th Goal 29th
5 PM MDT - CITY TV
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Litter Box Cats

Surprise!

Edmonton emerged with a 5-2 victory against the Blackhawks on Friday night.  The Oilers did it without getting killed on the shot clock, either, which is encouraging.  Corsi events were 52/49 in favour of the Oilers.  Derek Roy had a three point night (1-2-3) including one power play goal, Nail Yakupov had a goal and an assist, Taylor Hall had a couple of points.  Even Andrew Ference had a helper.  It was a fun game to watch.

The Oilers look to make it a two game winning streak this evening against the Panthers.  What's in the bag?

The Oilers are saying

"I thought Derek's work ethic was just exceptional.  He was working back hard on the backcheck and he was contributing offensively so it was a really solid game"

That's Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson on Derek Roy's three point night.

Three points is pretty good, isn't it?  Derek Roy had a nifty little power play goal on against the NHL's number one road PK on the year when he was able to skate untouched right in front of Antti Raanta.  He'd later add a pair of assists to give him three points on the night.  Since joining the Oilers via trade, Roy has five points (2-3-5) in six games.  I don't know if he's got very many three point nights in him, but he might play his way into a deadline deal if he keeps this sort of thing up.

The Opponent is saying

"It was long all night.  It was frustrating all night.  I thought we played pretty well overall for back-to-back games and putting all the pucks at the net, so I was satisfied for sure".
That's Panthers coach Gerard Gallant on his team's 6-5 victory against the Flames on Friday.

EASTERN PROGRESS?
Is Florida a playoff team in the East?  I'm starting to think so. A couple of quick reasons why -
  • they've got quality goaltending in Roberto Luongo.  Luongo's SV% is .926, and while I think that's a tad high for him, his career average is .919.  Don't be surprised if he doesn't deviate far from where he's currently at.
  • they're taking a lot of shots.  Currently, they're sixth in the league in total shots, but only 25th in total goals scored. I've got a feeling that more of those shots will be finding the net sooner than later.  . Compare that to Edmonton's rank of 25th in shots, 27th in total goals scored.  Or Buffalo's rank of last in shots, last in goals.  Or Arizona's rank of 26th in shots, 25th in total goals.  You get the gist.  It's not true in every circumstance, but if Florida keeps putting the puck on net, I think it's fair to expect their 2.33 goals scored per game average to go up a bit.  Nick Bjugstad (15-9-24 in 39 GP) is their leading scorer.
If Florida can start scoring, look out.

Have some of this
  • TWO IS NOT ENOUGH - Edmonton looking for their first two-game winning streak since the second week of November.
  • ALL STAR NUGE - Congratulations to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  RNH has been named to the All-Star Game, which is a lot of fun to watch if you're into pond hockey.  And if you're into hideous fashion choices. What utter dreck.  Speaking of All-Stars, Roberto Luongo and Aaron Ekblad made it for the Panthers.  Ekblad trails Nick Bjugstad by a single point for top scorer on the Panthers.
  • Ben Scrivens earned his eighth victory of the year against the Blackhawks, and it's my guess that he'll go again tonight.  I'd expect Luongo to get the go for Florida.
  • IS LANDER STARTING TO STICK? Anton Lander is playing some pretty good hockey.  He won every faceoff on Friday (he took six), and the fourth line didn't look bad at all with him paired up with Matt Fraser and Teddy Purcell.  It almost made me forget how well the fourth line gelled at the beginning of the season.  More of this, please.
  • Nail Yakupov had an awesome game.  I had the chance to speak with Lowetide on Friday morning, and he commented that perhaps Yakupov had a confidence issue.  A couple more two point games and some more excellent two-way play will help break any issues he might have.
  • GOILERS