Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Oilers Top Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned home from a five-game winning streak on the road and lost to the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 at BB&T Center on Wednesday night. The Panthers play their next four games and seven of the next eight games at home.  
     Edmonton(33-20-8) took the lead at 5:18 of the first period. Nick Bjugstad made a clearing pass that was stopped by Oscar Klefbom at the left point. He powered a slapshot by James Reimer off the right post and into the net.
     Florida(28-21-10) was able to tie the contest 1-1 on the power play 21 seconds into the second period. A slapshot by Aaron Ekblad from the top of the zone was blocked by an Oilers defender in the slot. Jussi Jokinen fed Aleksander Barkov for a wrist shot from the right circle that went past Cam Talbot.
     The Oilers regained the lead midway through the second at the 10:26 mark. Kris Russell ripped a slapshot from the blue line which was redirected by Mark Letestu in the low slot and hit the left post. The puck came out to the left face-off circle and Eric Gryba snapped in a follow-up shot.
     Both teams combined for several goals in the last couple of minutes. The Panthers pulled even again with 4:07 left in the frame. Colton Sceviour got the tally with assists from Jokinen and Keith Yandle.
     Edmonton reacted and picked up a go-ahead goal with 1:01 remaining in the second. Milan Lucic tried to stuff in the puck from the blue paint and then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins poked in the rebound from close range.
     The Cats matched it one more time with 3.9 seconds to go. Yandle sent a lead pass from his own end through the neutral zone to Jonathan Marchessault at the Oilers blue line. He skated in on a breakaway and scored his 18th goal of the season on a forehand shot.
     The Oilers took their fourth lead of the contest at 12:02 of the third period. Connor McDavid skated into the Panthers zone down the right side and centered the puck to Leon Draisaitl in the high slot. He angled the puck to his left where Russell scored on a wrist shot for his first goal of the year.

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