Florida Panthers (23-23-6), (5th, Atlantic)
Edmonton Oilers (23-27-3) (6th, Pacific)
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
The Oilers are playing out the string after failing to gain a single point in a three game trip to California. Saturday’s 6-4 loss to San Jose featured a two goal performance by unlikely hero Zack Kassian, but Sharks’ defenceman Joakim Ryan scored the first two goals of his career including the game winner. The Oilers gave up three goals to start, managed to score four straight to take the lead before fumbling their way to the end. They are now a clear sixteen points away from a wild card. It’s time to turn the page.
Florida visits the Oilers for one game before Edmonton hits the road. Can the Oilers squeak out a victory against a struggling Eastern Conference club?
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“It was a case of trying not to fall behind in the beginning, but we worked our way back in the second and the third only to see us give them the puck in those last minutes of the game, and they scored..It was good that we had some fortitude to come back and push in the game.”
That’s Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on giving up three goals, pushing back for four goals, but ultimately giving up three more goals en route to a loss.
Probably goes without saying, but the Oilers would probably fare a little better if they’d stop giving up the first, second, and third goals before getting a few of their own. It’s a problem that they’ve had for some time now, and it was put on full display for this past road trip.
The Panthers are saying
“We had chance after chance after chance in the second period, and we missed. That was the difference in the game.”
That’s Panthers coach Bob Boughner on his club’s 3-1 loss at home on Friday.
The Panthers had been undefeated in their last four games until Friday’s loss to the Kings.
Have some of this
- That’s Joakim Ryan’s second career goal, second of the night, game winner. Look at all the real estate the Sharks have on that goal. They’re rent free in the Oilers zone.
- Credit to Zack Kassian for a pair of goals against the Sharks. I don’t know when that is going to happen again, but that’s the type of secondary scoring I was bellyaching about earlier in the season. Too bad four goals didn’t do it for the Oilers on Saturday.
- SPECIAL TEAMS: 0/3 on the power play in San Jose. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Both Drake Caggiula and Andrej Sekera will be out tonight after taking pucks to the head. The Oilers have recalled Keegan Lowe.
- Like the Oilers, the Panthers are a team full of mysterious, sometimes unexplainable moves. They let Jonathan Marchessault get selected at the expansion draft (currently 54 points in 52 games) while protecting Nick Bjugstad (currently 25 points). They’re currently 21st overall in goals scored (2.79 per game) while allowing the seventh-most in the league (3.15 per game). They’re 25th overall on the power play (16.9%) while their PK is 18th in the league at 79.7%.
- Jonathan Huberdeau is pulling the sled in Florida with 51 points (18-33-51) in 52 games. Vincent Trocheck is right behind Huberdeau with 48 points, while Aleksander Barkov is a shave behind Trocheck with 47 points
- NET GAINS: Look for Cam Talbot to get back into the swing of things (19-19-2, .902 SV% / 3.10 GAA / 1 SO) while James Reimer (13-12-5, .911 SV% / 3.04 GAA / 2 SO) is a likely go for Florida after Harri Sateri started the club’s last five. Roberto Luongo is also travelling with the team to Edmonton, though it’s unlikely he’ll make his first start since a December groin injury. Check back later to see if any of it is sorted out.
- SICK BAY: Edmonton is without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (ribs), Andrej Sekera (face), Drake Caggiula (mouth) and Adam Larsson (personal). Roberto Luongo is still listed as day-to-day with a groin injury for the Panthers.