July 21st, 2024

Panthers pounce on Oilers for impressive 5-1 win

By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on December 16, 2023.

Florida Panthers' Carter Verhaeghe (23) scores on Edmonton Oilers goalie Calvin Pickard (30) during first period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday Dec. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Carter Verhaeghe had two goals and an assist as the Florida Panthers made up for being shutout their previous two outings by coming away with a 5-1 victory over the suddenly cooled off Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists and Brandon Montour and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers (18-10-2) who snapped a two-game skid.

Zach Hyman replied for the Oilers (13-14-1) who have now lost two straight on the heels of an eight-game winning streak.

The Panthers started the scoring 5:33 into the opening period thanks to a nice job cycling the puck, capped off by Bennett sending it across the top of the crease to Verhaeghe, who put his 14th of the season past Oilers starter Calvin Pickard.

It was then Verhaeghe making the nice pass coming from behind the net to a wide-open pinching Montour, who scored his first of the season with just over a minute to play in the first.

Just 29 seconds later, the Panthers clawed out a 3-0 lead when Barkov shovelled in a rebound in tight for his 11th of the campaign.

It was the eighth goal allowed by Edmonton in their last two periods of play, added to their five conceded to Tampa Bay in the third period of a 7-4 loss on Thursday.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had a solid opening frame, twice stopping Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Grade A opportunities.

Edmonton finally got on the board eight minutes into the second period as Hyman switched to his backhand and lifted his 18th of the season past Bobrovsky. Connor McDavid picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games, a span during which he has netted 28 points and moved from 91st in the scoring race to sixth.

Florida restored its three-goal advantage with four minutes to play in the second period as Bennett gained the zone on the power play and drove the net, deking Pickard to score his fourth on the backhand.

The Panthers added to their lead just 21 seconds into the final frame as Verhaeghe stopped short and took his time before rifling his second of the game up high.

Edmonton had a good chance to get back into the game four minutes later when Sam Gagner was awarded a penalty shot, but Bobrovsky showed a ton of patience in making the stop.


Panthers defenceman Josh Mahura returned to the lineup after missing the last 13 games with an injury. “¦ Evan Rodrigues and Gustav Forsling entered the Florida lineup in place of forward Anton Lundell and defenceman Aaron Ekblad, both listed as being out with illnesses. “¦ The Oilers remained without forward Dylan Holloway, although he is expected to join them on their upcoming road trip. “¦ Panthers blue liner Nikko Mikkola skated in his 200th NHL game. “¦ The last time the Oilers beat the Panthers at home in regulation was a 4-1 victory at their old Rexall Place arena in November of 2013.


Panthers: Finish a five-game road trip in Calgary against the Flames on Monday.

Oilers: Embark on a six-game road trip, beginning in New York against the Islanders on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2023.

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