SUNRISE, FL -
Mark Arcobello’s second of the game, in overtime, led the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers at the BT&T Center on Tuesday night.
“I was just trying to hit the net. I knew he would be moving with the pass and I just tried to get it there as quick as I could,” Arcobello said of the game winner.
The Oilers scored two goals 33 seconds apart by two players netting their first career NHL markers to gain a 3-1 lead in the second period but it wasn’t enough as a pair of third-period goals, including one with 57.7 seconds left to play resulted in a tie game.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins liked the play of his team overall.
"I liked the way we looked defensively. We end in with a fairly detailed plan but with some simple goals that we wanted to accomplish and our guys did that," said Eakins. "We were rewarded with our defensive play with odd-man rushes we were able to convert. I thought our power play early was real good. I thought we had some good chances there.
"I liked that we stayed in the fight. We played a great third period."
Florida put a lot of pressure on the Oilers in the first part of the final frame, registering eight shots in the first 10 minutes of the period to Edmonton’s four but not a lot of quality chances.
10:04 into the third period, the Panthers were able to keep the puck in the Oilers zone long enough to set the stage for Scottie Upshall corralling a pass from Bjugstad then rifling it top corner past Dubnyk to make it a one-goal game at 3-2.
With less than a minute to play in regulation time, Scottie Upshall fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Dubnyk glove side to tie the game up at 3-3.
"It's a broken play. A fluttering, curving puck. It was more bad luck than anything. I liked our third period and the way our guys dug their heels in," Eakins remarked.
The game was tied 1-1 with each team trading a first-period goal until several minutes into the second period and that’s when the Oilers struck for their two quick goals to take the aforementioned 3-1 lead.
Arcobello was up first.
The Oilers rushed up ice and scored to take their first lead of the night. Arcobello skated up the left-wing side and fired a seeing-eye shot from the left circle up and over Markstrom for the goal, the first of his NHL career. Boyd Gordon and Ryan Jones got the assists.
"I was feeling it a little bit," said Arcobello. "To help the team win was the biggest thing. The chances I've been missing, they could have helped our team win the game so it was nice to be able to contribute tonight.
"He's a big goalie. I had the chance to play him a lot in the American League. He was crouched down a little too far and I put it where I wanted it," he said on the first goal.
On the very next shift, the Oilers went back on the attack and Nugent-Hopkins fed the puck over to Taylor Fedun on the rush. Fedun made no mistake, putting the puck in with a quick release for his first career goal 33 seconds later. Eberle got the other helper on the play.
"It was awesome to get out there in the first place and get my legs under me," said Fedun. "I had the opportunity to jump into the play and ultimately finish. It was a pretty special night."
Following the two goals, Edmonton had a pair of power plays in the second period that they were unsuccessful on.
Nick Bjugstad grabbed the puck in front of his net and spun before releasing it, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty for him and a power play for Edmonton near the midway point of the frame.
Then a penalty to Erik Gudbranson for high sticking sent the Oilers back on the man advantage. They didn’t score on that one, either but did generate constant pressure in the Panthers end once again.
Shots on goal in the second period were 10-7 for the Oilers and 18-13 Edmonton in the game overall through 40.
Neither team was able to get much in the way of offence in the early going, with Florida holding a 2-1 shots advantage eight minutes into the game but the play started to pick up as the opening frame approached the halfway mark.
For the first goal of the game, Marcel Goc took a feed at the top of the right circle and skated over to the high slot where he fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of OIlers starting netminder Devan Dubnyk to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Near the end of the first, Jesse Winchester got a little bit too close to Dubnyk in the Oilers goaltender's crease and received two minutes for goaltender interference. Andrew Ference got a little too physical with Winchester after the play and got two for cross checking. That set up a four-on-four situation.
However, despite not getting the power play, the four-on-four ended up working in the Oilers favour. Right off the faceoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sped out of the Oilers zone and down the ice with Philip Larsen. RNH fed Larsen in the slot and the defenceman made no mistake, rifling it in on a one-timer to make it a 1-1 game.