Superstar Connor McDavid scored twice, including the game-tying goal with eight seconds left in regulation, added a assist and notched the clinching goal in the shootout to power the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers, who dropped their fourth straight game.
The Panthers played solid road hockey for the most part, holding the Oilers to just 18 shots in regulation, but had issues with Edmonton’s top-end skill when down a man (McDavid scored just as a power play was ending and Mark Pysyk was re-joining the play and with Cam Talbot on the bench for an extra attacker), or in overtime (out-shot 6-2), or the shootout (outscored 2-0).
Florida ended a run of giving up the first goal in seven consecutive games when Bogdan Kiselevich threaded a nice pass to Frank Vatrano and he carried into the zone and beat Talbot from the right circle 9:06 into the opening period.
The Oilers would get the goal back a mere 26 seconds later. Alex Chiasson worked a nice give-and-go with McDavid and then dropped a behind-the-back pass to Darnell Nurse, who snapped a wrister through James Reimer.
Denis Malgin gave the Cats the lead back 4:28 into the second. With the Panthers set up in the Oilers zone, Aaron Ekblad took a long shot that Talbot stopped. Adam Larsson shoveled the rebound right to Malgin and he quickly snapped it home for fifth, unassisted.
An Aleksander Barkov faceoff loss late in the frame would prove costly. Leon Draisaitl won the draw back to Nurse and his shot from the point sailed through traffic, bounced off Reimer and right to McDavid, who popped the puck into the open net.
Is it me or has this happened a lot this season, with Barkov losing a key defensive draw and the puck ending up in the net? Seems that way...
The Panthers went ahead for a third time when rookie Henrik Borgstrom’s centering attempt from below the goal line bounced off both Caleb Jones and Larsson in front on it’s way by Talbot at 14:02 of the third. Kiselevich collected his second helper of the night and Mike Hoffman also drew an assist.
Florida was getting close to ending its three-game losing streak, but after Reimer made an impressive glove save on Draisaitl, the talented German was able to claim the rebound in the corner and find McDavid, who somehow was allowed to drift into open space, with a centering pass for the tying goal at 19:52.
As mentioned above, overtime belonged to the Oilers and in the shootout Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid scored (RNH just barely and McDavid rather easily) and Jonathan Huberdeau and Barkov did not. Barkov had a chance to extend the skills competition, but his shot rang off the post, sending the Cats to a fourth-straight loss.
Welp, another tough one to swallow. The Panthers had the lead three different times, got a pretty decent performance from Reimer, and had some secondary scoring for a change. But, relatively quiet nights, and no points, from the likes of Evgenii Dadonov, Barkov and Huberdeau, with the latter two deserving of some finger-pointing, helped turn a win into a loss. Both players were near McDavid on the tying goal, both failed to score in the shootout, and Barkov was beaten on the draw that led to McDavid first goal. The Cats needed their best players to be better last night and it didn’t happen, while McDavid and Draisaitl (and Nurse) delivered for the Oilers. On to Calgary.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)