Friday night's game between the Oilers and Lightning was far from a classic. For the second straight game the Oilers looked to be practically asleep at times, but despite their play they had a chance to win the game. And then, thanks to some unbelievably bad luck and/or terrible bounces they found themselves without even a single point. Sometimes the hockey gods smile on you and sometimes they do not, on this night they were clearly not doing the Oilers any favours.
But that was Friday and tonight there is another game to be played, this time against the red hot Florida Panthers. Be honest, if at the start of the season I'd have told you that one of the teams the Oilers would play on this weekend would be leading the division and would have eleven straight wins, would anyone have picked that team to be the Panthers? I certainly wouldn't have. That's the case though, with Jaromir Jagr looking nothing like a player barely more than a month away from his 44th birthday, the Panthers are the NHL's hottest team right now.
Only once in a winning streak that dates back to December 15 have the Panthers allowed more than two goals against, for an Oilers team that continues to struggle offensively, and especially with the man advantage, this is hardly good news. The Oilers do get a little lucky tonight though with Al Montoya not Roberto Luongo getting the start for the Panthers, Florida plays again tomorrow night in Vancouver and, given the choice, I'm sure that Luongo would much rather start that game for his team.
The Oilers will make only one change to the lineup tonight, swapping out Brad Hunt for Mark Fayne. Cam Talbot will again be between the pipes for the home team. Talbot's play of late has been very good and people are talking about an extension in terms of when and not if, but he still can't do it all himself. He's going to need the guys playing in front of him to wake up and start playing some better hockey.