After a successful six-game road trip, the Florida Panthers are stumbling at home. The Cats followed up dropping Thursday night's tilt to Colorado with a disappointing 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers in game two of their five-game homestand. Edmonton, who have now won six straight at the BB&T Center, ended a fourteen-game losing streak (0-8-6) away from Rexall Place.
An exciting, well-played first period saw the Panthers outshoot the Oilers 14-12, and kill off 50 seconds of 5-on-3 time, but some fine goaltending from Viktor Fasth, who denied Scottie Upshall twice on the doorstep, and Roberto Luongo sent the teams to their respective dressing rooms knotted at zero.
Jordan Eberle opened the scoring early in the second period with a breakaway goal. The speedy Eberle took a Florida turnover and blew by Erik Gudbranson on his way to his twelfth of the season.
Gudbranson would even the game 2:06 later when his shot from the blue line eluded Fasth. Jussi Jokinen and Nick Bjugstad drew the assists on Gudbranson's second goal of the campaign.
The Panthers took the lead with 5:31 left in the middle stanza. After following up Dmitry Kulikov's blocked attempt, Aleksander Barkov hit the post and an opportunistic Jonathan Huberdeau was there to put away the rebound.
Edmonton would score shorthanded at 6:32 of the final frame to tie the game. Matt Hendricks potted the goal with Taylor Hall in the box serving a hooking minor. The 33-year-old veteran capped off a pretty passing involving Mark Fayne and Boyd Gordon after an Aaron Ekblad giveaway.
Florida would get two more cracks at the Oilers' penalty kill before overtime and unsurprisingly, come up empty.
After a scoreless extra session, Nail Yakupov beat Luongo in the first round of skills competition and Fasth repelled Barkov, Bjugstad and Jokinen to send the Cats to a third straight defeat. The Edmonton keeper finished the first sixty-five minutes of the game with 35 stops.
By getting past regulation, the Cats managed to collect point number 50 on the season to move back within four of the Boston Bruins, who lost at home to Columbus. The Panthers still hold three games in hand on the Bruins. Up next on the homestand, a visit from the Canucks, who will be looking to avenge last week's 3-1 loss to the Cats in Vancouver.
Dribs & Drabs
- This was Edmonton's first win of the season when trailing after two periods. The Oilers were 0-21-2 coming into the game.
- Nail Yakupov's shootout winner came in his first career attempt in the skills competition. Coach Todd Nelson's hunch paid off in a big way for the Oilers.
- Jussi Jokinen bagged his team-leading 20th assist on Erik Gudbranson's tally. The goal was Gudbranson's first since the season-opener against Tampa Bay.
- Boyd Gordon's assist on Matt Hendricks' game-tying goal was the 100th of his NHL career.
- The Panthers got another solid outing from Roberto Luongo, who finished the game with 32 saves.
- Sophomore pivot Aleksander Barkov continued his recent offensive surge. His second period helper was his 7th point in his last 10 games.
- Brad Boyes and Jonathan Huberdeau led the Cats with five shots on goal apiece.
- The Panthers have not beaten the Oilers in Sunrise since a 5-4 win all the back on March 8, 2002.
- For more on last night's rarity (an Edmonton road win) visit our friends at Cooper & Blue.