Florida Panthers defeat the Edmonton Oilers in a high-scoring contest

EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 12: Aaron Ekblad
EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 12: Aaron Ekblad /

After dropping a tough game against the Los Angeles Kings last Friday, the Florida Panthers were looking to redeem themselves in Edmonton, Alberta.

Florida and Edmonton are two teams who are close to the very bottom in the NHL. Before the match, the Panthers currently sat at 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Oilers looked above from 6th place in the Pacific. Both teams knew that two points would be crucial to salvage what was already a disappointing campaign for either sides.

The game started off quick in tempo, with Florida and Edmonton each going at it in each others zones. Most of the play was occurring in the neutral zone, as pucks were hard to get by either teams territory. Defenders on both sides were quick to meet up their opponent at the blue line, quickly breaking up any play that could go further into their own zone.

But as the game progressed, it was actually Florida who took the play to Edmonton, pinning the Oilers in their own zone for quite some time. Cam Talbot was also seeing a lot of rubber, as the likes of Nick Bjugstad, Vincent Trocheck, and Aleksander Barkov were all peppering pucks at the Edmonton net minder.

Eventually, it was the Panthers who struck first on the power play, courtesy of Aaron Ekblad. With under three minutes remaining in the opening period, Denis Malgin wired a wrist shot off the boards, which fell to Ekblad on his stick. Similar to his goal against the Kings, Ekblad banked it off Oscar Klefbom, notching his 12th goal of the year:

Although, it didn’t take the Oilers long from leveling up the game. A minute and a half after Ekblad’s goal, Patrick Maroon stuffed home a rebound off an Auvitu point shot, recording his 14th of the season:

Just before the period ended with twenty seconds to spare, Jonathan Huberdeau rang a wrist shot off the crossbar, which trickled right across the goal line. Unfortunately, as the puck trickled across the goal line, the Oilers were able to clear the puck out of danger, keeping the score tied at one apiece:

The first period ended in even fashion, with both sides heading to the locker room tied up at one. The Panthers had the slight edge in terms of dominance throughout the first period, but Edmonton also had some significant time in the Panthers zone as well.

The Panthers started off the second period horribly, coughing up an early shorthanded goal. On the power play, the Cats turned over the puck, sending Leon Draisaitl on a breakaway with Michael Matheson following closely behind. As Matheson dove and stripped Draisaitl of the puck through a perfectly timed poke check, Leon went down, drawing a penalty shot for his side.

With nothing more really to say, Leon Draisaitl buried his penalty shot with ease, ripping a shot past Reimer’s blocker and in:

Four minutes later, the Cats found a quick equalizer through Denis Malgin. Michael Matheson came sneaking down the wing in the Oilers zone, sending a cross-crease pass over to Malgin. Once receiving the pass on his stick, Malgin buried a shot underneath Talbot’s glove and in.

It wasn’t long until the Oilers regained their lead, thanks to Drake Caggiula. As Kris Russell threw a wrister on goal, Caggiula skated in and tipped Russell’s shot home, giving the Oilers a 3-2 lead.

While many expected the Panthers to crumble after the Oilers’ third goal, they didn’t. Instead, Dadonov and the Cats leveled up the game once again, this time coming twenty-one seconds after Caggiula’s goal.

Evgeni Dadonov came bursting into the Oilers zone, sniping a shot past Talbot’s glove:

The second period ended like the first, with a draw between both sides. The Cats would head into the dressing room tied up at three goals apiece, in what was a goals-galore contest between either sides. The Panthers knew they were in for a treat come the third period.

A treat they were certainly in for! Vinnie Trocheck scored in the opening eighteen seconds of the final period, giving the Florida Panthers a 4-3 lead. On the man advantage, Keith Yandle sprung Trocheck on a breakaway, with the rest being history. Trocheck would dangle Talbot out of his crease, slotting the puck into the empty side of the net.

Vincent Trocheck and the Cats weren’t done there as they would add a fifth shortly after. On the power play yet again, Trocheck let a bullet go from the faceoff circle, which went through Talbot’s five hole and in:

The Oilers finally woke up from their snooze fest, when Anton Slepyshev scored forty-five seconds after Trocheck’s second goal. Coming down on the wing, Slepyshev sent a wrister over Reimer’s glove and in top-shelf, cutting the Panthers lead down to one (5-4).

As the goal fest continued, it was Evgeni Dadonov and the Cats who would strike next. After getting hooked on a breakaway, Dadonov drew the perfect penalty, giving his side their first penalty shot of the night.

With Draisaitl scoring for his team, surely Dadonov would do the same for the Cats, right? Needless to say… he did! And the Panthers regained their two-goal lead like that:

Although, the pesky Oilers wouldn’t go down without a fight, as Connor McDavid trimmed the Panthers lead, giving his team some life. It was at this moment where the Panthers were struggling to get the puck out, which ultimately led to the McDavid goal.

Even after McDavid’s goal, the Cats continued to struggle in their own zone. Edmonton were pinning them in their own corner, desperately searching for an equalizer. But with Reimer’s key saves towards the end, he gave Florida just enough to hang on.

In the remaining minute of the final frame, Vincent Trocheck slotted in his third goal of the game, recording his first career NHL hat trick. With Vinnie’s hat trick, as well as Dadonov’s pair, the Florida Panthers would go on to win by a score line of 7-5.

Next: Looking at Jonathan Huberdeau’s impact with the Florida Panthers

All in all, the Florida Panthers played a solid game throughout the majority of the night, testing Cam Talbot whenever the opportunity arose. Your Panthers are back in action on Wednesday, February 14th @10:00pm against the Vancouver Canucks