The Florida Panthers battled back from down 3-1 in the third period to send the game into overtime but were unable to pick up the second point as they fell to the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Edmonton rookie Mark Arcobello scored the overtime winner, his second goal of the night. Arcobello’s two goals were his first and second career NHL goals.
Florida took an early lead at 10:35 in the first period when Marcel Goc finished an open look in front of Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk for his fourth goal of the season. Goc was assisted by Jonathan Huberdeau (4) and Tomas Fleischmann (8). A poorly timed Tom Gilbert pinch led to the odd man rush that allowed the Oilers to tie things up at 16:59 in the first. Philip Larsen got the goal for Edmonton, his first of the season.
The Panthers came out flat in the second period allowing the Oilers to score two goals only 33 seconds apart for the 3-1 lead. Oiler rookie Mark Arcobello scored at 2:06 into the second on a bad angled-shot that he snuck over the shoulder of Jacob Markstrom for his, Arcobello’s, first career goal. Just 33 seconds later, another poorly timed Tom Gilbert pinch led to another odd-man rush which led to the Oilers third goal. This time the goal was finished by Taylor Fedun who was playing in his first ever NHL game.
Midway through the third period the Panthers found themselves down 3-1, a situation they have grown familiar with. Before tonight the Panthers had managed four third period comebacks to send games into overtime. Tonight was no different, well maybe a little different. The Panthers received a pair of goals from an unlikely source, Scottie Upshall. Upshall who had been without a goal through his first 11 games, and who had only managed six goals in his two seasons with the Panthers, played the hero in the third scoring at 10:04 and again at 19:02 to send the game into OT and steal a point for the Panthers.
Head coach Kevin Dineen was so pleased by Upshall’s effort that he sent him out to start the overtime period, a gesture that proved to be fatal. Within the first minute of OT Upshall got whistled for tripping after he stuck out his left leg to clip Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the neutral zone. On the ensuing 4 on 3, Arcobello fired another bad angled shot past Jacob Markstrom to seal the win for the Oilers.
The loss drops the Panthers to 3-8-4 while the Oilers improved to 4-10-2. The Panthers will play next on the road against the Boston Bruins on Thursday at 7 pm. It will be the start of a three game road trip that will see the Cats take on Boston, Ottawa and the New York Rangers.
This and that:
- Everything seemed to come in pairs tonight. Scottie Upshall scored a pair of goals, his first two of the season. Two of the Oiler goals were direct results of unsuccessful Tom Gilbert pinches that led to odd-man rushes. Two Oilers, Mark Arcobello and Taylor Fedun, got their first career goals and Arcobello’s pair of goals came from almost the exact same spot on the ice, just above the goal line to Markstrom’s right. In both instances Arcobello fired the puck over Markstrom’s right shoulder. How the 6’6″ Markstrom can routinely leave that left corner so open to the bad angled shot is beyond my capacity of understanding.
- Tonight’s goaltending matchup of Devan Dubnyk vs. Jacob Markstrom lived up to its shaky expectations. Both goalies made a couple of big stops but they each also gave up goals that they definitely should have saved. Markstrom has to stop the two Arcobello goals and Scottie Upshall’s second goal, the one that sent the game to OT, was a fluttering, knuckling shot that somehow found its way past Dubnyk and into the top corner. Dubnyk finished with 20 saves on 23 shots while Markstrom finished with 23 saves on 27 shots. Tonight was a prime example why the Oilers have been involved in early season goalie trade rumors and why the Panthers are chomping at the bit to get Tim Thomas back from injury.
- The Panthers have now had five games where they have overcome third period deficits to send the game to OT. Of those five overtime games, they have only once walked away with two points. First, while the comebacks are nice, I wish the Panthers weren’t consistently falling behind early. Second, I guess if you are going to go to overtime it is better to be the team coming back late in the game rather than the team surrendering a lead. At least that way when you only walk away with one point, you still kind of feel good about it.
- You could tell Kris Versteeg was trying to prove himself after being scratched Saturday against Washington. My only gripe was he seemed to be trying to do too much. There were a number of occasions where Versteeg tried to stickhandle or make a cutesy pass when he should have just fired a shot on net.
- Versteeg could learn a thing or two from the recent play of Jesse Winchester who pick up an assist on Upshall’s first goal. Winchester now has six points on the season (three goals, three assists) all coming within the last nine games. He has drawn praise for his straightforward style of play and for doing the little things. Winchester is the type of player who dumps the puck once he crosses the redline, takes the shots that are given to him and doesn’t try to get too cute by making dangerous passes through center ice. While he is admittedly not the most exciting player to watch he has been one of the more effective players.