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game recap

Panthers lose ground in wild-card race, defeated by Oilers

Allow three third-period goals; McDavid has three points

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers lost ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race when they lost 4-2 to the Edmonton Oilers at BB&T Center on Saturday.

The Panthers (35-27-7) are five points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Panthers highlights]


"When we play the way we can, we win a lot of games," Florida center Vincent Trocheck said. "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."

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists in the third period to help Edmonton come back after it trailed 2-1 in the second period. Adam Larsson scored the tiebreaking goal at 6:13, and Cam Talbot made 40 saves.

Video: EDM@FLA: Larsson nets shot off Luongo's stick

Edmonton (31-35-5) is 17 points behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild card from the Western Conference and is 4-1-1 in its past six games. The Oilers won here for the ninth consecutive time, dating to the 2002-03 season.

"We're just trying to focus on ourselves right now," McDavid said. "It seems like every team we play is in a desperate playoff position and we're trying to get up for those games just like we know other teams are. We've got to understand their intensity and match it."

Frank Vatrano and Trocheck scored for the Panthers, who ended a stretch of 11 of 12 games at home with a 9-2-1 record. Roberto Luongo made 32 saves.

Florida begins a stretch of seven of eight games on the road Monday against the Montreal Canadiens.

McDavid tied the score 2-2 38 seconds into the third period. Larsson scored when his cross-ice pass went in off the stick of Luongo for a 3-2 lead.

Florida was 23-0-0 when leading after two periods.

"In the first half of the game I thought we were the better team," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "We had a great first period. We had a lot of compete and lot of urgency. Then we're carrying a 2-1 lead into the third period and they tie it on the first shift. I think the tables turned a little bit there. There were plenty of chances early on to get the offense going. Give the credit to Talbot, but we couldn't find the goals we've been finding of late."

Vatrano gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 8:02 of the second period when he beat Talbot to a loose puck halfway between the top of the circle and the blue line and got around the goalie.

Video: EDM@FLA: Vatrano beats Talbot to puck, hits open net

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 1-1 with his 20th goal of the season at 11:09. It was the 10th shorthanded goal of the season for the Oilers, tying the Panthers, the Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils for the most in the NHL.

Trocheck gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 15:54 with his Panthers-leading 28th goal. Ty Rattie scored an empty-net goal with 50 seconds remaining in the third period for a 4-2 lead.

Florida was 0-for-6 on the power play. Edmonton is ranked 29th in the NHL in penalty killing (75.3 percent), although it ranks first on the road (87.7 percent).

"Our power play was the difference tonight," Boughner said. "We had many chances to go up 3-1 and we didn't. When you let teams stick around like that, that's what happens. Could be goofy bounces or whatever, and they tie it up. It's a different game after that."


Goal of the game

McDavid's goal 38 seconds into third period.

Video: EDM@FLA: McDavid turns, fires wrister past Luongo


Save of the game

Talbot's save on Aleksander Barkov with 1:37 remaining in the third period.

Video: EDM@FLA: Talbot shuts down Barkov's late chance


Highlight of the game

Luongo's save against Anton Slepyshev at 16:50 of the second period.

Video: EDM@FLA: Luongo lunges for incredible stick save


They said it

"We're all really disappointed with where we are in the season, but we're not going to roll over and play dead. We plan on playing hard and trying to get better, moving the needle in the right direction. I think we've done that. We haven't won all the time, but we have done that on most nights." -- Oilers coach Todd McLellan

"A lot of important hockey ahead of us here. Disappointed with tonight, but we've got some big games coming up on the road this week. So we've got to forget about it and just get back to what we do best." -- Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo


Need to know

Oilers defenseman Kris Russell, who was injured blocking a shot against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, did not play. … Panthers defenseman Alexander Petrovic missed his second straight game because of a lower-body injury. … The Panthers last defeated the Oilers at home March 8, 2002 (5-4). ... Panthers forward Jared McCann nearly scored with a shot between his legs at 10:05 of the first period.


What's next

Oilers: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday (5 p.m. ET: SUN, SNW, NHL.TV)

Panthers: At the Montreal Canadiens on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2, RDS, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: McDavid leads Oilers to 4-2 win against Panthers

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