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Special Teams Propel Panthers To 7-5 Victory Over Oilers

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75% success rate on the power play and a Vincent Trocheck hat trick send OIlers to fourth loss in a row

Florida Panthers v Edmonton Oilers
Vincent Trocheck had three goals for the Panthers in Monday’s 7-5 victory over the Oilers

The natives are becoming restless.

With the playoffs a distant bell in everyone’s mind, there’s nothing to lose on the season. The lines were shuffled again. This time, the club put Ryan Strome on the first line. Michael Cammalleri was put on line two, and Jesse Puljujarvi was put on the third line with Jujhar Khaira and Drake Caggiula, who had missed the previous game against San Jose after getting hit with a puck in the face.

At least Leon was back on his own line, right?

The Oilers would score five goals. That’s a monumental good thing. Trouble is, they yielded seven. Edmonton couldn’t buy a power play, and Florida had four. The Oilers’ league worst penalty kill was on display in full effect as Florida cashed not once, not twice, but three out of four times.

Leon Draisaitl did get a penalty shot last night. It even put the Oilers up 2-1 at the time. That was fun.

One of the few benefits of when your club is out of the playoff race with two months to go is that the coach shouldn’t be afraid to take a couple of risks in the lineup.

Strome on the first line is something that some fans have been waiting to see. I’m not really sure about putting Michael Cammalleri on the second right wing spot, but here we are. Jesse Puljujarvi getting nine minutes of ice time in the third period is probably doing him no favours as he and Kailer Yamamoto are prime candidates to be a top six forward next year (because we don’t know how to maintain cap space properly LOL).

And last night, the club didn’t disappoint. At least, not with the puck. Your club scores five goals, and you shouldn’t have very many complaints about putting points up. Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon still work together on the top line (each had a goal and an assist), while Anton Slepyshev chipped in for one. Leon had his penalty shot goal, and Drake Caggiula had one from a tip-in. That’s five goals. Five goals is usually enough to pick up two points and talk about how things are really changing around here.

But, you’re nearly 400 words into a game recap and you know that this isn’t quite the case. It was Vincent Trocheck who scored three times for Florida, two on the power play, and one into a yawning net with a minute remaining. The Oilers are obviously missing both of Andrej Sekera and Adam Larsson in the lineup, but yielding seven to a team that’s among the bottom third overall in scoring isn’t a good reinforcement. Edmonton’s home penalty kill is the worst that’s ever been tracked. Cam Talbot looks like he’s fighting everything out there. Things are tough all over.

Oilers about to hit the road for three games beginning this Thursday in Vegas, they’ll have a back-to-back in Arizona and Colorado over the weekend. What’s to look forward to? Connor McDavid is on pace for 99 points right now, which is close to a second consecutive 100 point season.

It’s all I got right now.