Khabibulin leads Oilers to 3-2 win over Panthers
|Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff digs the puck out of the corner with Panthers defenceman Mike Weaver in pursuit
(photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
On the strength of 26 saves from goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin
- many of them difficult - the Edmonton Oilers held on to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-2 at Rexall Place on Sunday night.
Under the Scope
The best scoring chance early on came after Panthers forward Chris Higgins created a turnover at the blueline and broke in alone on Nikolai Khabibulin
. The Oilers netminder stopped the first shot and then the rebound afterward to keep the game scoreless.
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On the next shift, the Panthers got the game's first power play after captain Shawn Horcoff
was sent off for cross-checking. Edmonton's penalty killers stood up and kept the game scoreless on the ensuing man advantage, however.
It was the Oilers turn to go on the powerplay just past the midway point of the opening frame after Florida's Stephen Weiss got sent off for tripping. Edmonton was unable to generate a shot on goal over the next two minutes, however.
Shots on goal 13 minutes into the game were 7 to 1 in favour of Florida.
With three minutes to go, Michael Frolik snuck in behind the Oilers defence and broke in alone on Khabibulin. Once again, the Oilers goaltender came up big on the breakaway, getting a piece of the puck before steering it into the corner.
By the end of one period, the shot count was 11-3 in favour of the Panthers.
1:33 into the middle frame, Edmonton struck first to take a 1-0 lead. Tom Gilbert
teed up a point shot that Penner knocked down in front of Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun. The redirected puck eluded Vokoun for the goal. The marker gave Penner 200 points in his NHL career.
Four minutes later, Ryan Jones
tipped a Jim Vandermeer
point shot past Vokoun to double Edmonton's lead to 2-0. Jones was at the hashmarks when he used excellent hand-eye coordination to knock the puck down. It bounced past a stunned Vokoun for the goal.
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5:40 into the game, the Oilers had a 2-0 lead despite being outshot 15-5. They had a goal on each of their first two shots in the second period - both deflections.
Less than a minute after Jones' goal, Marty Reasoner fired a shot off the rush past Oilers netminder Nikolai Khabibulin
. The goal cut Edmonton's lead in half at 2-1.
Immediately after the goal, Dustin Penner
broke in behind the Panthers defence but lost control of the puck as his deke attempt went wide.
Several minutes later, the Oilers continued to go on the attack. Shawn Horcoff
barrelled down on a partial breakaway where he was upended on his way to the net.
Moments after that, Theo Peckham
made a great play to keep the puck in the zone. Taylor Hall
put the puck on net where it redirected in off Horcoff's skate.
The play was reviewed to see if it was kicked in. After several minutes of deliberation, it was ruled a good goal. With an assist on the play, Hall was awarded his first career NHL point.
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Midway through the period, the Oilers found themselves in a bit of penalty trouble after penalties to Ladislav Smid
and Colin Fraser
44 seconds apart. However, a penalty to Cory Stillman six seconds into the two-man advantage nullified Florida's five-on-three.
Reasoner struck again with 2:09 to play in the second. The former Oiler swooped in to pick up a rebound. His second of the night made it a 3-2 game.
Shots on goal after two periods were 23 to 7 for Florida.
The Oilers continue to be frustrated by the Panthers' trapping as the third period got underway. The best chance for Edmonton came about nine minutes in as Andrew Cogliano
picked up the puck and skated into the slot where his backhand attempt was scooped up by Vokoun.
13:20 into the final frame, shots on goal were 5-4 for Edmonton as they managed to make the pendulum swing more in their direction while Florida tried to mount an attack to get the equalizer.
Edmonton ended up outshooting Florida in the third period by a margin of 6-5 as they held on for the victory.
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