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Panthers Wrap-Up: Oilers 2, Panthers 1 (SO)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT SO T
Panthers 0 1 0 0 0-4 1
Oilers 0 1 0 0 1-4 2
FLA - J. Garrison (16)
EDM - R. Jones (16), SO - R. Nugent-Hopkins
SUNRISE, Fla (AP) - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Nugent-Hopkins' goal was the only score in the shootout.

"We just need to produce more offense. Less let's just hope and more get down and play the game the way it's supposed to be played. There's no shortcuts right now. We're looking to take maybe an easier path, take the highway instead of the dirt road and that's just not going to happen this time of year."

- Head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Garrison Sets The Mark: The Panthers and Oilers failed to find their offense in the opening period as both Jose Theodore and Devan Dubnyk kept the offenses off the board. Dubnyk was the busier of the two, seeing nine Panthers shots compared to five for Theodore. After Ryan Jones gave the visitors a lead 1:37 into the second period off the rush, it was the Panthers leading defenseman Jason Garrison knotting the score 3:21 later. Garrison who had 15 goals entering the game, was tied with Jay Bouwmeester (2007-08, 2008-09) and Bryan McCabe (2008-09) for most goals by a blueliner in a season. Not any more as Garrison continued his offensive breakout season in blasting the puck past Dubnyk. It started with the play of Stephen Weis through the neutral zone and after circling back the center found Tomas Fleischmann inside the blueline and he in turn found a rushing Garrison for the one-time snap shot.

2. Oh So Close: Each team had their chances following the goals early in the second period. The best chances came towards the end of the third and overtime. With about a minute and a half eft in the final period of regulation, rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had an excellent chance to give the visitors a lead. The only problem was that Theodore was in net and the goaltender reached back and swatted away the slowly rolling puck out of harms way with the help of defenseman Brian Campbell. In overtime, the Panthers had their best opportunity in the dying seconds. There Weiss found a wide open Kris Versteeg just outside the Oilers blue line and the forward raced in on a breakaway. He put a move on the goaltender but Dubnyk got his pad on it. Versteeg had a second chance at it but put the puck through the crease and the horn sounded. Florida had a 27-21 shot advantage after overtime ended.

3. No Ground Loss: The Panthers and Oilers would head to the shootout. Edmonton, despite all their skill and youth entered the game with a 4-7 record in the one-on-one session and dropped Thursday night's game in the shootout. Florida on the other hand entered the game 5-8 after winning their last shootout attempt against Buffalo. Mikael Samuelsson was stopped on his attempt while Wojtek Wolski missed and Dmitry Kulikov, last game's shootout hero, had Dubnyk beat but put the backhand wide of the net. Theodore was just as strong on the other end, stopping each of the three Oilers shooters. Headed to the fourth round, Dubnyk denied Weiss before Nugent-Hopkins gave the visitors the extra point with a nice backhand move. Not picking up the second point does hurt in regards to most of the other teams catching them but it does keep the Panthers four points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the race for the division. Washington had a three-goal lead on Winnipeg but fell to the Jets as the team that is currently in third place in the Southeast desperately needed the points and fought back to earn a 4-3 overtime victory. Florida and Winnipeg has eight games left on the schedule while Washington has seven more.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@Van_Murph: Again, the #FlaPanthers control their own destiny! There are 16 points available. Go get 'em! #iSTILLbelieve! #WeSeeDivisionLeaders

@erbacaaa: #flapanthers need to start playing playoff hockey. I'll take the point tonight. Thank goodness we only play them once a year

@lmcangel13: I will take the point #FlaPanthers hate the OT... When it comes to shootouts, Theo is #buzzin it's the forwards to blame #workitoutalready

@corradino48: At least Washington loss as well. No harm no foul in a sense. #FlaPanthers

@SoFlaNinja: I hate it when the #FlaPanthers lose, but Dubnyk was IMMENSE!!! That was some amazing goaltending, on both sides. #Oilers

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Sonny Rosen: They lost. But they are still my team. GO CATS GO!!!!!!!!

Damian Geisz: We're gonna be a sub .500 shoot out team until we get a true goal scorer

Laszlo Kovasznay: bad shoot out again..frustrating

William Holz Jr.: What an exciting game and a BIG point!!! Keep on rolling Panthers!!!

Jeff Main: Tough game, so many chances. It was a goaltenders game from start to finish! Proud of our Panthers regardless!


3. Falling 2-1 in the shootout, the Panthers have now suffered the same fate to the Oilers in Sunrise on each of the last three occasions. The last time the Panthers fell in the shootout was on December 7, 2009, a 3-2 setback.

The Panthers were unable to set a franchise record for a winning streak at home. Instead they'll have to share the five-game win streak instead and join five other occasions (the last coming from Jan. 16-26, 2010).

9. Unable to score on their four shootout opportunities, the Panthers dropped their ninth shootout decision of the season. That total has them tied for the league lead with Calgary, Montreal and Phoenix.

16. There is now no one better than scoring goals as a defenseman than Jason Garrison. Deadlocked with Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan McCabe, Garrison notched his single-season best 16th of the season in the second period.

700. Suiting up for his 74th game of the season, Brian Campbell also hit a career milestone as it was his 700th career game.

Devan Dubnyk
The Oilers netminder kept the Panthers off the board on four different power play chances and stopped 26 shots and another four in the shootout.

 27 Shots, 26 Saves, .963 SV%
It's a day break before the Panthers finish off the quick two-game homestand on Sunday for a 5pm start against the NY Islanders. Florida had taken the first three games of the season series, outscoring them 10-3. The Islanders, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 in Toronto on Tuesday, will head to Tampa for a Saturday night game prior to their stop in Sunrise. New York is led offensively by budding superstar and former first overall pick John Tavares (73 points in 73 games) along with PA Parenteau (64 points in 72 games) and Matt Moulson (61 points in 73 games). In goal, Evgeni Nabokov has posted a 17-18-3 record with a .912 save percentage and a 2.56 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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