Florida Panthers: Troy Brouwer is the Key to Win Over Oilers

Tonight, at 7:00 P.M. ET, the Florida Panthers will host the Edmonton Oilers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. This is the first of two games this season between the two clubs. They’ll play again in Edmonton on January 10th.

The Florida Panthers have gotten out to a rough start. A 3-5-3 record to open the season; although, they did win their last matchup.

Despite that, they’ve gained points in over half of their games. Their NHL-worst nine total points are only tempered by the fact that they’ve played at least two fewer games than any other team.

They’ll be continuing their three-game homestand against the New York Islanders on Saturday and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

The Edmonton Oilers, boasting an 8-6-1 record, rank fourth in the tough Pacific Division. They’re finishing up a four-game road trip.

After starting out with a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, they lost 4-2 to the Washington Capitals and 5-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After this, they’ll head home for a two-game stand, opposite to the Colorado Avalanche and the Montreal Canadiens.

When Last We Met

The last time the Florida Panthers faced the Edmonton Oilers was on March 17th last season. The 35-26-7 Panthers dropped the decision to the 30-35-5 Oilers by a 4-2 final count.

Vincent Trocheck (28) and Frank Vatrano (4) split the pipes for the Cats, with assists credited to Derek MacKenzie and Aaron Ekblad on the Trocheck marker.

Connor McDavid led the Oilers with a goal and two helpers. Roberto Luongo stopped 32-of-35 in the loss. The Panthers won nine of their final 13 games afterward, only to fall one point short of Lord Stanley’s Tournament.

Florida Panthers

HELSINKI, FINLAND – NOVEMBER 02: Vincent Trocheck #21 of the Florida Panthers battles for the puck against Blake Wheeler #26 and Mark Scheifele #55 of the Winnipeg Jets in front of the net in the third period during the 2018 NHL Global Series game at Hartwall Arena on November 2, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

“I don’t think we’re pleased with tonight, the way we played. I think we should beat that team. If we play our game, we would. It’s just a matter of coming to every game like it’s a playoff game. Can’t let off the pedal at all.” – Vincent Trocheck as quoted by Alain Poupart on NHL.com

In Florida’s last game, they topped the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2 with 13,490 in attendance at Hartwall Arena, in Helsinki, Finland.

Evgeni Dadonov (6) and Keith Yandle (3) each scored a goal with an assist, Jonathan Huberdeau notched a pair of dimes, while Mike Hoffman (6) and Vatrano (4) also pitched in with a goal each. Luongo earned the victor’s spoils in his return from the DL by turning aside 32 of the Jets 34 shots.

“I was aiming more towards next week, but I felt really good in practice the last few days. I had a good morning skate yesterday and I felt I was where I needed to be and I was excited to get back in the lineup.” – Luongo, as quoted on NHL.com by Brian Compton.

In Edmonton’s last matchup, on Tuesday night, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the 11-3-1 Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ryan Strome (1) and Leon Draisaitl (9) lit the lamp, with helpers by Oscar Klefbom, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Ty Rattie. Mikko Koskinen took the loss, allowing all five goals on 35 shots.

“We should have maybe scored one or two more out there on the power play. We had a lot of good chances.” – Klefbom, as quoted by Corey Long on NHL.com

All-Time Series

The Florida Panthers have faced off against the Edmonton Oilers 32 times through their history. Their 11-12-3-6 record and subsequent .484 points percentage rank as their 18th best against the rest of the NHL.

This Day in History

Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL – OCTOBER 30: Sean Bergenheim #20 of the Florida Panthers plays in the game against the Arizona Coyotes at BB&T Center on October 30, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Panthers are 1-4-0-1 on November 8th. Their only victory was a 5-1 contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011. Shawn Matthias (2) and Jack Skille (1) each had a goal and an assist. Sean Bergenheim (2), Tomas Kopecky (3), and Marco Sturm (1) also added markers to support netminder Jose Theodore, who turned aside 38-of-39.

Common Thread

Jason Garrison, who is now about to turn 34-years-old, played in parts of four seasons for the Panthers. He scored 23 goals with 36 assists in 190 contests before signing with the Vancouver Canucks through free agency following the 2012 playoffs.

Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL – APRIL 13: Stephen Gionta #11 of the New Jersey Devils is checked into the boards by Jason Garrison #52 of the Florida Panthers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the BankAtlantic Center on April 13, 2012 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Standings

Florida Panthers: 3-5-3, nine points, .409 points percentage, Eighth-of-eight in the Atlantic Division, 16th-of-16 in the Eastern Conference, 31st-of-31 in the NHL. Last five: L-W-L-L-W, Playoff Odds: 22.8%.

Edmonton Oilers: 8-6-1, 17 points, .567 points percentage, Fourth-of-eight in the Pacific Division, Ninth-of-15 in the Western Conference, 15th-of-31 in the NHL. Last five: L-W-W-L-L, Playoff Odds: 59.4%.

Starting Lineup

Florida Panthers

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195
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1 (unconfirmed)

Edmonton Oilers

Hopkins – McDavid – Rattie
Tobias Rieder – Draisaitl – Drake Caggiula
Milan Lucic – Strome – Kailer Yamamoto
Jujhar KhairaKyle BrodziakZack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell NurseKris Russell
Kevin GravelMatt Benning

Cam Talbot (unconfirmed)

Injury Report

Florida Panthers

TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 25: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle (3) and Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie (17) in the first period of the NHL preseason game between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 25, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Derek MacKenzie is on the IR with a bum shoulder and is out indefinitely.

Jared McCann is listed with an upper-body injury and is questionable.

Mark Pysyk is still out with the “upper body” injury.

Milestones

Games: Alexander Petrovic will play in his 240th Panthers game, moving into a tie for 43rd all-time with Kopecky.

Goals: Dadonov will tie Jozef Stumpel in 34th with his next goal, his 45th as a Panther. Ekblad will move into a tie with Tom Fitzgerald and Tomas Fleischmann in 21st all-time with his 54th marker. Huberdeau, currently tied in 10th with Ray Whitney, can pass him with his 98th goal.

Florida Panthers

HELSINKI, FINLAND – NOVEMBER 1: Evgeni Dadonov #63 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets in the 2018 NHL Global Series at the Hartwall Arena on November 1, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Assists: Dadonov needs two helpers to tie Valeri Bure and Gregory Campbell in a tie for 43rd, with 56. Ekblad will tie Stumpel in 23rd with his next assist, number 84. Two assists for Keith Yandle will give him 95, tying him with Jussi Jokinen in 20th.

Points: Dadonov’s next point will give him 99, tying him in 42nd with Brian Skrudland. Yandle’s next will be #110, tying him in 35th with Dave Lowry. Two points for Ekblad will tie him in 21st with Dmitry Kulikov, with 138.

Stat Leaders

Games: Petrovic, Ekblad, Nick Bjugstad, Barkov, Trocheck, Hoffman, Huberdeau, Yandle, Dadonov – 11

Goals: Dadonov, Hoffman – 6, Vatrano – 4

Assists: Yandle – 9, Huberdeau – 8, Dadonov, Barkov – 7

Points: Dadonov – 13, Yandle – 12, Huberdeau – 10

Plus-Minus: Bjugstad +5, Dadonov, Vatrano, Jacob MacDonald, Petrovic +1

Blocked Shots: Petrovic – 23, Mike Matheson – 13, Yandle, MacKenzie Weegar – 12

Hits: Petrovic – 37, Trocheck – 28, Troy Brouwer – 17

Faceoff Percentage: Trocheck – 52.3%, Juho Lammikko – 51.5%, Bjugstad, Barkov – 51.3%, Jared McCann – 48.1%

Shots-on-Goal: Hoffman – 42, Yandle, Dadonov – 35

Troy Brouwer’s Impact

Florida Panthers

NEWARK, NJ – OCTOBER 27: Florida Panthers right wing Troy Brouwer (22) skates during the National Hockey League Game between the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers on October 27, 2018 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 6’3″ Brouwer has accrued 461:30 in 30 games against the Oilers, mostly as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s scored six goals with five assists in an average of 15 minutes of ice time against them over the last dozen years.

Although he’s only averaging just north of nine minutes per game this season, his steady hand on the checking line with youngsters Lammikko (23-years-old) and Mamin (24-years-old) will prove invaluable to success in tonight’s game.

On the other hand, if Brouwer’s off, then the Panthers will be off tonight, and not in a good way.

Extra Credit

k.d. lang is an Edmonton native. She famously sued the Rolling Stones for their use of this song, or at least part of the chord progression on their hit, “Has Anybody Seen My Baby?”

Next: Will Luongo's Return Put the Panthers Over the Top?

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