(SportsNetwork.com) – The Florida Panthers will try for their fourth win on a
six-game road trip when they visit the Edmonton Oilers for Sunday’s clash at
The Panthers are 3-1-0 so far on the swing and have won two straight to begin
the Western Canada portion of the trip. Florida split games in Buffalo and
Washington at the start of the trek before notching consecutive victories
against Vancouver and Calgary.
Florida rebounded from a loss in D.C. with Thursday’s 3-1 win in Vancouver,
which fell in Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo’s return to Rogers Arena. One
night after Luongo anchored a solid defensive effort, the Cats needed six
goals to edge the Flames in Friday’s battle at the Saddledome.
The Panthers saw six different players hit the net in the 6-5 victory over
Calgary. Tomas Fleischmann scored with 3:09 remaining in the third period to
help Florida pick up the regulation win.
Fleischmann backhanded in a rebound from the slot 45 seconds after the Flames
had tied it on Matt Stajan’s second goal of the game.
Brad Boyes, who had a goal and an assist for Florida, was then called for
slashing with 2:25 left. The Flames pulled Jonas Hiller during the subsequent
power play for a 6-on-4 advantage and Brian Campbell, who gave the Panthers a
5-4 lead at 9:29 of the third, bailed out goaltender Al Montoya. The puck sat
in the crease, but the veteran defenseman alertly pinned it against Montoya to
trigger a whistle.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Jimmy Hayes and Sean Bergenheim also scored as Florida
improved to 10-6-6 as the road team.
Friday’s tilt marked the second high-scoring affair between the Cats and
Flames in as many meetings this season. The Panthers lost 6-4 at home to
Calgary back in November.
“It’s been wild games, both of them. Exciting games, but coaches don’t like
them,” said Florida coach Gerard Gallant.
Montoya made 25 saves for the win over Calgary, but Luongo is expected to be
back between the pipes in Edmonton. Florida’s No. 1 netminder is 26-12-3 with
a 2.30 goals against average in his career against the Oilers.
Florida, which is only three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference, will complete its road trip Tuesday in Winnipeg.
The Oilers are well outside of playoff contention in the West, but the club
has been playing well since ending a nine-game losing streak that took up the
majority of December. Edmonton has put together a 3-1-2 mark since going 0-7-2
from Dec. 9-27.
Edmonton also has won two of three to begin a four-game homestand and is
coming off Friday’s impressive 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Derek Roy finished with a goal and two assists to help the Oilers beat a
Chicago team that entered the game with 29 more points than Edmonton on the
season. The Blackhawks also had won the three previous meetings at Rexall
Place by a 16-3 margin.
“I thought we did a good job making plays, getting pucks out and not giving
them many chances,” Roy said about the way the Oilers handled a third-period
Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov both had one goal and an assist for the Oilers,
who got 19 saves from Ben Scrivens.
The marked Edmonton’s first win over a Central Division opponent this season
(1-4-5). The Oilers also improved to 3-18-8 within the Western Conference.
Following tonight’s test, the Oilers will head out on a four-game road trip.
The swing begins Tuesday in St. Louis.
Edmonton has dominated the Panthers in recent years, winning five straight
since Florida’s last win in the series — a 2-0 decision at Rexall on Dec. 11,
2008. The Oilers have claimed nine of 10 overall against Florida and owns an
all-time 7-3-0 record with a tie on home ice versus the Panthers.