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GAME STORY: Oilers 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

McDavid ties it with 8 seconds remaining; scores in shootout as Oilers overcome three deficits to beat the Panthers 4-3 in a shootout

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - It was the Florida Panthers in town but it was the Oilers who would claw their way to a victory, overcoming three separate one-goal deficits to defeat the Cats 4-3 in a shootout Thursday at Rogers Place.

Connor McDavid tied it up at 3-3 with eight seconds remaining in the game then scored again in the shootout to lift his club to victory, ending the night with two goals and one assist. The Oilers Captain registered his 19th multi-point game of the 2018-19 campaign and sits third in National Hockey League scoring with 66 points.

In addition to McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse also had multi-point nights themselves, while Cam Talbot stopped 27 of 30 shots to earn his ninth victory of '18-19, improving to 9-12-2.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs FLA 01.10.19

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Edmonton faces the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place on Saturday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. MST.

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With every bounce going against the Oilers versus the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, the club was haunted with another unfortunate instance of bad puck luck when Henrik Borgstrom scored to make it 3-2 with under six minutes remaining in the match.

The rookie forward threw the puck at the Oilers net from behind the goal-line, having it ricochet off Caleb Jones then Adam Larsson and wind up in the back of the net.

"I've never seen a bounce like that," said Talbot. "You get ones that go off skates and at least they're being funneled towards the net. That one was being pushed away from the net and somehow it ends up back in it."

The Oilers dug deep late, as Draisaitl fed McDavid on the door front, sneaking one under James Reimer with eight seconds left to force overtime.

"We persevered after that third goal," continued Talbot. "We could have folded but instead we went down, battled back and found a way in the shootout."

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was pleased with the adversity and camaraderie his club showed near the end of the game, which he believed factored into the win.

"We scored at the end and got those chances at the end because we refused to shut down on each other," he said. "We kept going and kept pushing each other.

"It's damn impressive what they did."

After getting a few nibbles at the net from a pair of right circle one-timers courtesy of Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau early in the first period, the Panthers pounced first when Frank Vatrano put one past Talbot off the rush. 

The Panthers' lead was short-lived, however, with Edmonton replying a mere 26 seconds later.

Nurse jumped up into the play as the late man on the rush, receiving a crafty no-look backhand pass from Chiasson, which he deposited 5-hole on Reimer.

Video: McDavid ties it in 3rd, scores in SO to lead Oilers

The goal was Nurse's sixth of the year, tying the career-high he set in 2017-18. Chiasson picked up his fifth assist on the season and McDavid received his 40th helper and 64th point with a secondary apple.

Talbot stopped 11 of 12 first-period shots, while Reimer turned aside four of the five he faced.

Florida regained the lead at 4:28 of the second period after Denis Malgin's second strike of '18-19. Aaron Ekblad's point shot was stumped by Talbot but the rebound popped out to Malgin in the slot, who went blocker side to make it a 2-1 score.

The Panthers owned much of the play in the second, out-shooting the Orange & Blue 16-8 midway through the frame but the Oilers evened things up at 5-on-5 after getting a 5-on-3 opportunity.

With 26 seconds remaining in the period, Draisaitl won an important faceoff to Nurse at the point. The defenceman's shot found its way to McDavid on the doorstep and he tapped the puck home for his 25th goal, squaring things up at 2-2.

Nurse recorded his fourth multi-point outing of the season on the play, pumping his stats up to 22 points in 44 games. The blueliner is just five points back of establishing a new high.

"It was two periods of not great hockey," McDavid said post-game. "Luckily we found a way to get one and finish it in the shootout."

Edmonton entered the third period with a 6-3-1 record when tied after 40 minutes and nearly got the go-ahead goal early from McDavid. The centre accepted a pass in front of Reimer's crease and attempted to put the puck and his stick between his legs for a cheeky goal but lost the handle.

"I thought our players really gutted it up in the third period," said Hitchcock. "Any good thing that went on, guys were cheerleading each other trying to help. To come up with two points, for me, is really, really impressive."

Video: THE OTHER SIDE | Bob Boughner Post-Game

Panthers rookie forward Borgstrom gave the Cats their third lead of the evening in the third instead, getting a fortunate bounce off Larsson and Jones, putting Florida up 3-2 with under six minutes to play.

"It's easy to fold especially when a bounce doesn't go your way," said Nurse. "We found a way to get one with eight seconds left."

Draisaitl feathered a perfect pass to McDavid ahead of Reimer's crease and No. 97 made no mistake, sliding one home to tie it up and register his 26th of the year with eight seconds left.

"That's a testament to us believing each other in this room," Nurse continued. "It's just got to continue."

The Oilers got a few high-quality chances in the fourth period. Nurse was stopped all alone on a partial break, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' backhander was thwarted and Reimer recovered in time to get his pad on Chiasson's ensuing slap shot.

As the session continued, Reimer stymied McDavid off the rush and Tobias Rieder from the slot. The Panthers keeper put away all six shots he faced in overtime to bring his club to the shootout.

In the shootout, Nugent-Hopkins squeaked a short side wrister and Talbot kicked Huberdeau's low shot aside. McDavid fooled Reimer with a corner snipe and Aleksander Barkov hit the post, securing Edmonton the win.

"It was gritty and we'll take it," said McDavid of his club's 21st W.

Edmonton continues their three-game home stand on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes. Puck drop is at 8:08 PM MST.

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