Game two of the four game road swing took place in Edmonton tonight. On the line was the 7 game point streak for the Florida Panthers. The Panthers were hoping for a good start tonight, as they have spent too much time playing catchup so far this season. The task wouldn’t be easy as they faced Connor McDavid who at game time was second in the NHL in scoring with 20 points.
The Panthers came out and within the first few shifts had some good chances. Mike Smith who was in goal made some nice saves. Looking quite uncomfortable while doing it however. Additonally, the Panthers had a couple early opportunities, but they continued to do the thing that they’ve been doing for years……pass too much. Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov were both guilty of not putting the puck on net, which appeared to have been the better decision.
The first scoring chance for Edmonton came from….yes you guessed right if you said Connor McDavid. The speedy McDavid sped his way into the offensive zone, getting a nice shot, but Sergei Bobrovsky made a nice save. Later in the period after killing off a tripping penalty to jayce, Bob made 3 point blank saves in a row to keep the Oilers off the board.
The first period ended in a scoreless tie, but the Oilers had a very nice chance late in the period as Leon Draisaitl has a bit of a breakaway chance, but Sergei Bobrovsky made another outstanding save. Here’s a look:
The Panthers would come out flying in the second and in 2:36 goals were scored by Aaron Ekblad, Brian Boyle and Noel Acciari. That was the fastest start to a period in Florida Panthers history. Here’s the Boyle goal, and watch how he trails the play, fits in between the defence and goes to the net. This is hockey sense boys and girls:
This would end up chasing Oiler goalie Mike Smith in favor of Mikko Koskinen. Smith who from the start looked uncomfortable, and may have been shaken up in the first period by a Mike Hoffman shot that possibly hit him in the zipper area as described by Randy Moeller.
As well as the Panthers were playing, they had more scoring chances, but instead of shooting, they were passing. Fortunately that didn’t cost them.
Early into the 3rd period, Evgenii Dadonov scored his 6th goal of the season, all of them coming in the third period. At this point the Panthers were well in control of the game.
James Neal would score his 10th of the young season to cut the lead to 4-1. On this play, the puck was redirected twice from a Leon Draisaitl shot. First by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and finally by Neal.
Leon Draisaitl picked up his 9th goal on a little tip in of a shot. Bobrovsky really couldn’t have stopped either of these goals, and the defencemen might have been able to do a better job of clearing the crease, and or at least tying up the players stick.
On a very smart play late in the game, and with the Oiler net empty, Frank Vatrano iced on a shot he took his time on to make sure he didn’t miss. And for good measure Jayce Hawryluk scored. Jayce had a really good game here, and that was deserved.
The Panthers played a full 60 minutes against one of the top teams in the league. It was really one of their best efforts in quite a long time. They were fast, hard working, and all four lines and all three pairs of defencemen did exactly what they were supposed to do. Not very many mistakes in this one. It was a very impressive effort in a very tough building to play in. The loss for Edmonton was their first loss at home so far this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp early when he needed to be, because if he wasn’t the game would have taken a much different turn, and our conversation would be much different.
This was a well coached game by Joel Quenneville. The right matchups, the right lines and the right decisions. Very solid effort all the way around, and when the Oilers cut the lead to 4-2, there was no panic.
The Florida Panthers now have a point in eight straight games. Final score 6-2.
Tomorrow night in Vancouver. 10 pm eastern time start.
Thanks for reading.
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It was nice to see Bob play so well. He looked sharp, confident and was never out of position. One of the best games he’s played so far this young season, if not the best. Was also good to see Brian Boyle get his first of the season, and with the Panthers. He’s going to be a solid contributor for the Cats.