Preview: Panthers at Oilers
The Florida Panthers vie for a rare season sweep of the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday when two teams meet at Rogers Place. The Panthers snapped a 10-game winless skid when the Oilers visited South Florida on Nov. 8 after Roberto Luongo turned aside 26 shots in a 4-1 victory.
Luongo wasn't as fortunate on Tuesday, as the 39-year-old yielded four goals -- including a pair of short-handed tallies -- on 16 shots in the first 29 minutes as Florida dropped its third straight following Tuesday's 5-1 setback in Pittsburgh. "Obviously, we try to prepare as best as we possibly can. It's on us as the leadership group to get the room ready, have the room prepared to play each night. We haven't done that," defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. Like the Panthers, the Oilers have fallen to the NHL's version of .500 following losses in eight of their last 10 games. Captain Connor McDavid, who leads the team in goals (24), assists (39) and points (63), boosted his point total to 14 (five goals, nine assists) in his last eight games after setting up Alex Chiasson's power-play goal in the first period of Tuesday's 7-2 loss to San Jose.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FS Florida, Sportsnet West (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (17-17-7): Captain Aleksander Barkov was credited with his second goal during his three-game point streak when he tallied late in the second period versus the Penguins to boost his point total to 15 (six goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games. The 23-year-old Finn, who resides three point shy of Jonathan Huberdeau (46) for the team lead, set up Evgenii Dadonov's game-opening goal in the second period of the previous meeting with the Oilers. Mike Hoffman, who joined Vincent Trocheck with two assists in that encounter with Edmonton, has scored five goals and set up two others in his last eight games overall.
ABOUT THE OILERS (20-20-3): Alex Petrovic's availability for his first career game versus the Panthers is up in the air after he exited Tuesday's tilt with an undisclosed injury. The 26-year-old Edmonton native was acquired from Florida last month for fellow defenseman Chris Wideman and a conditional 2019 third-round pick, ending a run in which he played 254 career contests over seven seasons since being selected by the Panthers in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. Leon Draisaitl is certainly a go for the Oilers, with the 23-year-old recording 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in his last eight games overall and scoring his team's lone goal in the first meeting with Florida.
1. Edmonton G Mikko Koskinen is 7-3-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .937 save percentage at home this season.
2. Florida has played just three games versus Pacific Division representatives this season (1-2-0).
3. Ten of Chiasson's career-high 17 goals have been scored at home.
PREDICTION: Oilers 4, Panthers 2