LINEUP UPDATE: Sam Gagner draws back into the lineup but he will be on the fourth line between Liam Reddox and Gilbert Brule... Mathieu Garon starts tonight's game - Dwayne Roloson gets the call Saturday according to Craig MacTavish.
FLORIDA PANTHERS (12-12-3) at
EDMONTON OILERS (13-11-2)
Start Time: 7:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes
|Oilers forward Marc Pouliot scores on the Panthers during a pre-season game in September.
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers have returned home from their Shark-hunting trip and now wait for a new prey to come to them: the Florida Panthers.
The Oilers open up a three-game homestand tonight at Rexall tonight against a foe rarely seen. Considering their meager history, the Oilers might want that to change: Edmonton hasn’t lost to Florida since March 8, 2002, going 4-0-0 in that stretch.
Yet despite being ravaged with injuries to key players, Florida has managed to put up some points as of late going 5-1-2 in their last eight games.
Of course, the Oilers don’t mind facing teams on a hot streak—just ask the San Jose Sharks.
Edmonton is coming off an action-packed win in San Jose in which Dwayne Roloson made 41 saves and Ales Hemsky
scored on the Oilers’ first and only shot of the first period. Kyle Brodziak scored the OT winner that ended the Sharks nine-game win streak.
The Oilers have now won three straight games and are looking to equal their longest winning streak of the year—the four-gamer that started the season.
Edmonton will play six of their next nine games at home before a new year rings in.
The Oilers next face the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Kid Line Part Deux: Gibert Brule and Rob Schremp have made the most of their few appearances thus far and seem to have some chemistry with Andrew Cogliano
continues to light it up.
PANTHERS TO WATCH:
Former Oiler Radek Dvorak visits his old digs and does so with some good numbers vs. the Oilers. He’s scored 4-11-15 in 16 games vs. Edmonton and has been a big part of the Panthers recent success...Jay Bouwmeester leads the Panthers with 16 points and is the only defenceman in the league to do that...David Booth may be returning from injury for the first time since Nov. 6. He leads the Panthers with 12 goals.
Edmonton – Sam Gagner
(concussion) is questionable. Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Robert Nilsson (upper body) is out; Fernando Pisani (broken ankle) is out. Florida – David Booth (shoulder), Cory Stillman (concussion), Nathan Horton (leg), Richard Zednik (arm) and Cory Murphy (shoulder) are all listed as doubtful for tonight.
On Nov. 6, Theo Peckham
became the sixth player to make his Oilers debut this season joining Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, Erik Cole, Steve MacIntyre
, Jason Strudwick
and Lubomir Visnovsky…The Oilers have gotten used to playing spoiler for the San Jose Sharks in recent years: in addition to knocking the Sharks out of the playoffs in 2005-06, Edmonton stopped San Jose’s 11-game winning streak last season and their 9-game winning streak on Saturday...21 of Ales Hemsky
’s 28 points have been scored on the road...19 of the Oilers’ next 27 games will be at Rexall Place... the Oilers lost their first two home games against the Panthers in 1993-94 and 1995-96 but are unbeaten since.
Molson Half Price Seats Available for Tonight
- All tickets, singles, standing, pairs, are on-sale today starting at 9:00 a.m. for only half-price! Get yours today and catch the Oilers and Florida Panthers in action at Rexall Place tonight! ...more
The Other Side - news from FloridaPanthers.com
- Practicing Fully - There was good news Wednesday in Edmonton. The Panthers’ injured players, including David Booth, Cory Stillman and Nathan Horton, all participated in what coach Peter DeBoer called a “pretty much full contact” practice Wednesday. ...more
- Coach's Corner with Pierre Groulx - In this episode of Coach's Corner, Denis Potvin talks to Panthers assistant coach Pierre Groulx on the play of Craig Anderson, stepping in in-case one of the goalies is absent at practice and facing Western Conference shooters. ...more
- Making his Mark - There is a time-honored belief that goaltenders mature later than position players, and teenage goaltenders in particular are hard to project several years down the line. Jacob Markström has been proving the experts half wrong. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Lubo's White Christmas - CTV's Dave Mitchell and edmontonoilers.com's Jen Sharpe chat with Lubomir Visnovsky about his first holiday season in Edmonton. Follow the link or click the play button above to watch the video. ...more
- My Five with Jason Strudwick - Hot sauce and hot Monopoly properties are among Jason Strudwicks favourite things. Click the link to check out more of his Top 5's in four unique categories. ...more
- Erik Cole helps launch Share-a-Book program - Skating and stick-handling are important skills for pro hockey players to acquire, but if you ask Oilers forward Erik Cole, writing complete sentences and learning to love the written word also rank near the top of the list, in the sporting world and beyond. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
A three-game winning streak has the Edmonton Oilers on the verge of climbing out of the Northwest Division cellar. To do so, they'll have to knock off a surging Florida Panthers team that appears ready to make a push for the Southeast Division lead.
The Oilers look to match a season high with their fourth straight victory Thursday when they host the Panthers, who will be trying for their fifth win in six games.
Edmonton (13-11-2) opened the season with four consecutive wins, but went 5-10-2 over its next 17 to drop to the bottom of the division. The Oilers appear to have finally regained that early form, winning four of five since.
Edmonton is hoping a four-day break doesn't slow its momentum, as it's been off since ending San Jose's nine-game winning streak with a 3-2 overtime victory on the road Saturday night. Veteran Dwayne Roloson made 41 saves as the Oilers survived a 43-17 shot disadvantage and dropped the Sharks' NHL-best record to 22-3-2.
"He was so composed all night," center Kyle Brodziak, who scored on the power play in overtime, said of the 39-year-old Roloson. "Even when they were threatening, he just hung in there. That was a huge lift for us. He comes to work every day with enthusiasm, he works hard, and he still enjoys the game."
The recent run has all of the Oilers enjoying themselves at the moment.
"We did a lot of good things the last three games so we can definitely build off that," defenseman Tom Gilbert said. "There's more life in the locker room and during practice and the guys are a lot happier, so it's definitely a good thing for us to finally get this positive attitude back in the locker room."
Last-place Edmonton has moved within one point of Colorado, which is off Thursday, in the tightly bunched Northwest.
The Oilers will be facing a Panthers team that has also gotten hot after slumping. Florida (12-12-3) went 4-8-3 from Oct. 25-Nov. 28, a stretch that started with a six-game losing streak, but is 4-1-0 since.
The Panthers bounced back from a shutout that snapped their three-game win streak with a 4-3 overtime victory at Ottawa on Monday. Stephen Weiss scored with 9.1 seconds left in the extra period for Florida, which is 5-1-2 in its last eight and back in contention in the Southeast.
Florida erased three one-goal deficits on goals from Jay Bouwmeester, Michal Repik - the first of his career - and Nick Boynton before Weiss' winner.
"That shows a lot of character," Weiss said. "This is a tough building to play in. They're a good hockey club, especially when you get down, they're tough to come back on and to get those goals right away after gave us a lot of jump."
Bouwmeester's goal gave him 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his last 13 games, while Alex Auld stopped 36 shots for Florida in his 11th consecutive start.
The Oilers have dominated this series of late, winning the last four meetings, and the Panthers haven't won in Edmonton since Jan. 5, 1996. That drought includes five losses and one tie.