Gameday Preview: Panthers vs. Oilers




Opposing site:  Oil On Whyte

The night we’ve been waiting for is here as the Florida Panthers finally begin their season against the young and potentially exciting Edmonton Oilers, who are fresh off a 4-0 trouncing of the Calgary Flames.  The Oilers defeated Calgary not only with their goals but also with their fists, as former Panther and third time Oiler Big Mac TKO’d Raitis Ivananas in a heavyweight match for the ages.  In case you missed the highlight here’s the link from our own Oil On Whyte.

The Oilers feature some young studs that are going to electrify the NHL this season, and for seasons to come.  If you missed Jordan Eberle’s goal from Thursday night, you must check it out here.  Awesome.  But he’s not the only weapon that they have.  Obviously this past summer’s number one pick Taylor Hall is expected to emerge as a superstar in this league, and could be the future of the franchise.  Another player making his NHL debut was Magnus Paajarvi, the Oilers first round pick in the 2009 draft.  Let’s not forget Sam Gagner, and Andrew Cogliano, two other top draft picks that they Oilers are counting on.  We haven’t even mentioned Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner two more offensively talented players on this club.  While the Oilers are coming off a terrible year, the future is bright thanks to good scouting and player development.  They may not be making the playoffs this season, but they will be a lot of fun to watch for sure.

The Panthers meanwhile have a number of new faces as we know, as well as some old faces that we’d rather forget.  But the season is new, and anything is possible.  A healthy David Booth is expected to make a difference in the goal scoring department, and Chris Higgins is also being looked upon to contribute and find the back of the twine at least 20 times or more which we all know he’s capable of doing.

Newcomer Dennis Wideman will be a welcome addition to the defence bringing some experience with him, along with Jason Garrison who showed at the end of last season that he’s finally ready to full time NHL duty.  Look for Marty Reasoner to start this game after recovering from a minor injury.  Reasoner a former Oiler will most likely center the fourth line and will be used to kill penalties, which is a specialty of his.

Tomas Vokoun will have to be his sharpest against this Oiler team.  Vokoun has looked to be in midseason form so far in the pre-season and that’s a good thing.  This Oiler team is young, fast, and talented, so the shots will be flying.

Keys to the game for Florida:

Fast start.  Get into the flow early and create some scoring chances right away.

Stay out of the penalty box.  Play smart.

Limit the shots against.  A must against these guys.

Apply a constant forecheck.  Don’t let them dictate the pace.

While both teams are young, the Oilers are a bit younger and are more skilled.  Florida will have to forecheck hard and try to keep Edmonton out of the offensive zone as much as possible.  This game could have some fun  moments with some end to end action.  I just hope it’s not the Panthers always racing back to their end!

Enjoy the game, and let’s hope for a good start.

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Tags: Chris Higgins David Booth Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Jordan Eberle Taylor Hall Tomas Vokoun

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