The Florida Panthers went three-for-five on the power play to help send the Oilers reeling to an embarrassing 6-0 defeat at Rogers Place. Sergei Bobrovsky was a difference maker for the Panthers, turning aside all 40 Oiler shots to pick up his 20th win of the season. The Oilers are now winless in their last seven (0-5-2) and are 2-11-2 in their last fifteen dating back to early December.
The Oilers jumped out to a fast start, but it wouldn’t last after the first. The ice was tilted towards Sergei Bobrovsky nearly the entire first period, as the Oilers put up seventeen shots in the first twenty minutes of play. The Panthers couldn’t get much going, and Bobrovsky kept everything out of the net, including a ten bell save on Jesse Puljujärvi in the dying seconds of the first. Edmonton played a brilliant first period, though they didn’t have anything to show for it on the scoreboard.
It would be a harbinger of things to come.
The Panthers would draw first blood with a power play goal from Alexander Barkov five minutes into the second. Carter Verhaeghe would make it 2-0 just three minutes later. Whatever mojo the Oilers had working for them was fading like an antacid fizzing in a tepid glass. The Oilers would yield four more goals in the third, with three coming in the last five minutes of the game. The Oilers looked utterly deflated in the second half of the third period, something needs to change immediately if they’re going to get back on track anytime soon.
The Panthers were beat up by the Flames by a 5-1 score on Tuesday. They came in ill-tempered and took it to the Oilers after a rocky first period. I’m not going to link six Panther goals to this page, you are free to watch all of them over and over if you’re a masochist. We’re jumping straight to the bullet points on this one.
PANTHERS 6, OILERS 0
- Can’t be stressed enough, the Oilers might have played their best period of the season in the first period of tonight’s game. They had the Panthers running around in their own zone. Only quibble? Not enough high danger scoring chances. Sergei Bobrovsky absolutely earned this shutout tonight, turning aside 40.
- Easy to point at Mikko Koskinen after yielding six goals in 28 shots. A recurring theme I’m starting to hear from Tippett and from guys doing media after the game is that it’s tough to play from behind. One goal allowed or sixteen goals allowed, you’re not going to win any games if you can’t score. Tonight, the Oilers didn’t do much scoring. They’ve lost 13 of 15.
- Panthers were 3/5 on the power play. Easy to pad their 4 goals scored per game average when 75% of them come on the advantage. Two of them were scored in sixty-four seconds late in the third period after the Oilers were long gone.
- Oilers GM Ken Holland did a hit with Gene Principe at the first intermission, and his message was clear: The Oilers need to dig deep and play hard to get out of this rut that they’re in. The Oilers were down Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman, but I don’t know how much this current crew can dig in without a significant change up top.
- We’re hearing the same messages from Dave Tippett as we are from some players right now about how the club is chasing the game after getting down a pair of goals. It’d feel like a giant weight off everyone’s shoulders if the Oilers could just score a pair of goals to get things going early, and even though they gave it a hell of a good shot tonight, the goals aren’t coming. I’d like to think that the messaging is growing old on Holland, but I fully believe him when he says that he doesn’t believe in firing a coach midseason. That call is probably going to have to come from up above.
- The Oilers host the Flames on Saturday night. If the Oilers can’t put a full sixty minutes together against their provincial rivals, then what?