Recap: Slick Oilers poach 4-3 overtime decision from Panthers

Bouchard ties it late, Draisaitl wins in the extra session

The Florida Panthers were a whisker away from grinding out a road win over the Edmonton Oilers, but had to settle for a point after Evan Bouchard scored with five seconds left in regulation and Leon Draisaitl won it 22 seconds into overtime.

Florida got off to a good start with a hard-working shift resulting in a goal, albeit a lucky one, 3:49 into the first period. Sam Bennett freed the puck to Nick Cousins behind the Oilers net and he lugged it back up to the right point. Cousins then sent an pass down low that wasn’t close to finding a Panther, but did find Darnell Nurse’s skate. Matthew Tkachuk was there to convert the fortuitous bounce, potting his second chance off the post after Stuart Skinner denied his first shot.

After killing off two power play chances in the first, the Cats would yield on Edmonton’s third chance midway through the second. Up on the rush, and not helped at all by an ill-advised decision to change by Eric Staal. the Panthers left Connor McDavid all alone at the Florida blue line. He reeled in a stretch pass from Zach Hyman and easily completed the breakaway chance by roofing a backhander on Spencer Knight. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the second assist by diving to block Eetu Luostarinen’s bid for a shorthanded marker at the other end.

The Oilers would take the lead 5:18 into third when Tyson Barrie, who scored twice against Knight and the Panthers in Sunrise, cruised into the slot to finish off Hyman’s redirection of Brett Kulak’s shot from the left point.

Anton Lundell scored for the third straight game to even the score at the 10:58 mark. After taking a pass from Josh Mahura, Luostarinen crossed the line before crossing left to Sam Reinhart, who went down low to Lundell for the twine-finding deflection. Beautiful piece of work as all five Panthers (Gudas was the other) touched the puck on this pretty goal.

With a man-advantage and applying heavy pressure in the Edmonton zone, Florida would forge ahead 4:18 later. After Skinner stopped Lundell’s high shot, Tkachuk batted the rebound across the crease to Aaron Ekblad, and he threw the puck off a skate back into the slot for Brandon Montour to rip just inside the post with a confused Skinner on his knees.

Bouchard would get the equalizer at 19:55, ten seconds after Knight made a big save on Hyman with the extra attacker on. Hyman collected a loose puck after a faceoff scrum and tapped it back to McDavid. He turned and found Bouchard, who made no mistake with his one-timer. Reinhart was drawn into the opposite circle and puck watching instead of staying closer to Bouchard. Ugh...

The Cats would fall in overtime on the first shot for the second straight game. When a  forechecking Tkachuk took a tumble, Nurse’s launched a long outlet pass to spring Darisaitl and McDavid on a 2-on-1 break. Draisaitl slipped a pass through Ekblad to McDavid, who went back to Draisaitl for the winner. A back-checking Bennett got a little piece of McDavid’s return pass, but not enough, and Draisaitl was able to handle the bouncing puck  and stuff it into the back of the net.

Edmonton took advantage of big Florida mishaps to skate away with the extra points. Mental mistakes by Staal and Reinhart, and on the game-ender Tkachuk falls with Bennett also in a little too deep on the forecheck. Not a good idea when Connor and Leon are opposing forwards 3-on-3. A shorthanded Gudas turnover led to a goal that was disallowed. These things can’t happen, especially in a closely played road game. After mastering overtime last season, the Cats are just 1-4 (a shootout win over  San Jose) going past sixty minutes this year. We are now 22 games into the season and the number of points the Panthers have left on the table is in the double-digit range. They’ll get right back at it tonight in Calgary.

Pressure & Viscosity

  • While Edmonton’s Connor McDavid was scoring on a breakaway and setting up the tying and winning goals in a 27-second span of game play, Florida was without number one center Aleksander Barkov for the second straight game.
  • Aaron Ekblad’s primary assist on Brandon Montour’s goal was his 300th NHL point. The 26-year-old defenseman has 101 goals and 199 assists in 565 career games.
  • Stuart Skinner got the best of Spencer Knight for the second time in sixteen days. The busier Knight finished the game with 36 saves while Skinner stopped 25 of 28 shots.
  • James Hamblin, 23, did not have a shot on goal in 9:56 of ice time in his NHL debut for the Oilers.
  • Matthew Tkachuk and Anton Lundell led the Panthers in shots with apeice. Radko Gudas and Josh Mahura were credited with six hits while Marc Staal was credited with five.
  • For more on the Oilers season series sweep, stop by Copper and Blue./