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GAME CHANGER: McDavid beats the buzzer

Connor McDavid lifted the Oilers past the Florida Panthers with his overtime buzzer-beater in January

by Paul Gazzola /

Connor McDavid didn't have to look up to the scoreboard to know how much time was left.

Tied 3-3 in the extra frame against the Florida Panthers at Rogers Place and with only a few seconds remaining, the Oilers Captain was launched on a breakaway off a pass from a visibly exhausted Leon Draisaitl.

Video: FLA@EDM: McDavid shows off quick hands for OT win

McDavid skated in on Panthers netminder James Reimer, as the seconds ticked down from five to four, then three. As the centre approached the goal-line, he shifted from forehand to backhand, releasing a backhander that Reimer caught in the netting of his glove. The position of the Panthers' trapper was behind the goal-line, however, and the Oilers began celebrating a 4-3 overtime victory as 2.6 seconds remained on the clock.

"I thought it went in because he was already in his net, basically," said McDavid post-game, ending the night with three points (1G, 2A) to reach career point number 100 in his 92nd NHL game. "The refs did a good job and the guys in Toronto did a good job of finding a clear shot of it."

It was a wild finish to a back-and-forth match, as the Oilers got goals from Zack Kassian and Mark Letestu to put them up 2-0 in the first period. The Panthers scored three unanswered in response, with Vincent Trocheck and Michael Sgarbossa scoring to tie things up, then Greg McKegg tallying at 14:45 of the third period to give his squad the lead.

Video: FLA@EDM: McDavid records 100th point, nets OT winner

Jordan Eberle then made it 3-3 with a wrister from the right circle at 17:01 of to push the game into extra time.

Five minutes of overtime nearly passed and the game looked to be heading into a shootout but McDavid made the most of the remaining seconds to supply Edmonton with the victory.

"We didn't play our best game," said Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom, who played 26 minutes and finished plus-three. "I think none of us in here is happy with tonight's game overall, but it's two points and points that could take us to the playoffs."

The Oilers put together their fourth win in a row, improving to 25-15-7 on the campaign.

"Obviously, we're not going to be perfect all season, but putting two points in the bank is really important for our team," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. 

"When it comes to April, it won't matter how that game was played. We'll only know we have the points in the bank. But I can tell you this: if we move forward playing that way it will be a long time before we win again."

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