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5 Takeaways: Panthers Ride Historic Second Period to Win Over Oilers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

10/27/19 Post Game Interviews

10/27/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Brian Boyle and Noel Acciari and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

  • 01:10 •

EDMONTON - It only took a few minutes for the Florida Panthers to take control of the game.

Lighting the lamp on three straight shots within a span of just 2:36 in the second period, the Panthers jumped out to a big lead and never looked back, extending their point streak to eight games with a thrilling 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Sunday afternoon.

"I thought we had a heck of a game tonight in a lot of ways," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had good offensive zone time and a lot of nice plays, some good individual plays on the goals. Bob [Sergei Bobrovsky] also made some big, key saves early in the game."

After a scoreless first period that was highlighted by more than a few highlight-reel denials from Bobrovsky, Florida came out flying in the second period. Just 31 seconds into the middle frame, Aaron Ekblad opened the scoring and made it 1-0 when he beat Mike Smith with a slick snipe.

Brian Boyle and Noel Acciari then followed suit with goals at 1:58 and 2:36, respectively. After the third goal, Smith, who stopped 10 of 13 shots, was replaced in the net by Mikko Koskinen.

According to NHL PR, those three goals were the fastest to start a period in franchise history.

"Everyone was upbeat," Acciari said. "We wanted to make sure we kept it in their zone and played offense as much as possible. They're a good transition team, so we wanted to be strong with the puck in the offensive zone. To get those goals that quickly was big for our team."

Evgenii Dadonov pushed the lead even further when he scored 49 seconds into the third period to make it 4-0. James Neal finally got the Oilers on the board with a goal at 3:37 that made it 4-1, and then Leon Draisaitl cut Edmonton's deficit even further when he made it 4-2 at 13:18.

But with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Frank Vatrano converted on an empty net to make it 5-2 at 18:36 before Jayce Hawryluk scored on Koskinen at 19:40 to make it 6-2.

Video: FLA@EDM: Hawryluk buries wrister from the circle

With the win, the Panthers (5-2-4) handed the Oilers (8-3-1) their first home loss of the season.

"The guys were ready and full of energy," Bobrovsky said. "It was a full 60-minute effort."

Here are five takeaways from Sunday's win in Edmonton…

1. EK'S ICEBREAKER

Ekblad lit the fuse of Florida's explosive second period this afternoon.

Just 31 seconds after the puck dropped in the middle frame, Aleksander Barkov flew up the ice before dropping a pass back to Ekblad, who fired a wrist shot from the just inside the right circle that flew right past Smith and into the back of the net to open the scoring and put Florida up 1-0.

The goal was Ekblad's first of the season.

Video: FLA@EDM: Ekblad fires home wrister off Barkov's pass

One half of the team's top-defensive pairing, Ekblad has been a workhorse on the blue line this season. Entering this afternoon's game averaging the fifth-most minutes per game in the league (25:34), the 23-year-old now has one goal and five assists while being deployed in all situations.

2. BOYLE'S FIRST

Boyle is making himself right at home.

In just his third game since signing a one-year deal with the Panthers on Oct. 20, the 34-year-old veteran netted his first goal with his new team, patiently outwaiting Smith as he made his way around the crease before scoring top-shelf to make it 2-0 at 1:58 of the second period.

Video: FLA@EDM: Boyle shows patience to score

"It feels great," Boyle said of the goal. "Scoring's fun. That was a fun one. It was a cool goal because we had a huge block right before by Jayce, and then Connolly won about three or four battles just to get an opportunity for me. That was good momentum for our line."

Filling in for injured center Vincent Trocheck, who could potentially return during this road trip, Boyle has been manning the pivot position on Florida's second line in each game he's played thus far. Picking up a goal and an assist, he's also chipped in eight hits and six blocks thus far.

"The depth and the ability and the skill level, you see it throughout the league, and you see it here on this team," Boyle, a veteran of more than 700 regular-season NHL games said of the Panthers' talented roster. "I've only been here a week, but it's very evident… Up and down the lineup, there's a lot of ability. I think everybody wants to contribute and expects to."

In Edmonton, Boyle also led Florida's forwards with three hits.

3. PILING ON

Florida's fourth line excels at turning defense into offense.

That's exactly what happened on this scoring play.

With linemate Colton Sceviour forechecking heavily, the Oilers were forced into making a bad pass in their own zone, which was intercepted by Acciari. Right after scooping up the puck, he skated into the left circle and sniped home a goal to make it 3-0 at 2:36 of the second period.

"Sceves was in on the forecheck hard and was able to get them to turn it over," Acciari said of the play. "I was able to read that and put another one in."

Video: FLA@EDM: Acciari steals pass, fires home wrist shot

In his first season with the Panthers after joining the team on a three-year contract this summer, Acciari has been even better than advertised. Th 27-year-old center not only has four goals and plays an integral role on the penalty kill, but has also accumulated 21 hits and 18 blocked shots.

4. WRAP IT UP

As it was in the second period, the Panthers opened the third with a bang.

Just 49 seconds into the final frame, Dadonov collected a rebound following a long shot from Jonathan Huberdeau, skated around the back of the net and slipped a wrap-around goal right under the Koskinen's pads to extend Florida's lead to 4-0 with 19:11 remaining in regulation.

Video: FLA@EDM: Dadonov beats Koskinen with wraparound goal

Leading the Panthers with six goals, Dadonov has been up to his old tricks on offense ever since the season kicked off earlier this month. In addition to his impressive goal total, the 30-year-old veteran has also tallied three assists and ranks third on the team with 29 shots.

A high-volume scorer, Dadonov finished with 28 goals in each of the two previous seasons.

5. BIG SAVES FROM BOB

Bobrovsky was on top of his game from the get-go this afternoon.

Finishing with 24 saves on 26 shots, the 31-year-old veteran stopped seven of the nine high-danger shots he faced against the Oilers, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. One of those big stops came late in the first period, when he gloved a shot from Draisaitl on a breakaway.

Video: FLA@EDM: Bobrovsky flashes the glove on Draisaitl

"He made some key saves," Quenneville said. "There were some key saves early, dangerous look all alone… There were some real dangerous looks, and he was key."

Bobrovsky has earned at least a point in each of his last six starts, going 3-0-3 in that span. "I think my defensemen make my job easier," Bobrovsky said.

"They keep them outside. They didn't give them the middle. I think the whole team played really well. It's a good win for us."

BONUS: VANCOUVER BOUND

Florida's road trip is starting to speed up.

Following today's victory, the Panthers will now head to Vancouver to wrap up a back-to-back set and put their point streak on the line against the Canucks on Monday night at Rogers Arena.

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