It took the Florida Panthers about four periods on this western Canadian road trip to get their legs going, but once they did, it was bad news for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers, a team which had lost 12 of 14 coming in, had all the jump in the first period as they threw it all up against Sergei Bobrovsky.
Only Bob had a little more.
A lot more, it turned out.
Florida brought it in the second period, getting a pair of goals from Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe — who won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2020 the last time he was in this building — before rolling out of town with a 6-0 win.
The shutout for Bobrovsky was only his second as a member of the Panthers — and first since stopping the Red Wings way back on Nov. 2, 2019.
Bobrovsky ended up with 40 saves.
The Panthers go from Rogers Place in Edmonton to Rogers Arena in Vancouver for Game 3 of this five-game trip Friday night.
The Oilers came out as desperate as everyone thought they would, taking an early 8-1 shot lead as Bobrovsky had to stand tall time and again in the opening 20.
Edmonton’s offensive barrage was thick and, at one point, rookie defenseman Matt Kiersted — in for an apparently injured Olli Juolevi — stopped a Leon Draisaitl shot from going in to keep things scoreless.
Coach Andrew Brunette’s mood was apparent on the bench and he must have said something in the dressing room as the Panthers, who had a strong couple of minutes to close the first, came out humming in the second.
Florida took the first lead on its second power play chance when Sam Reinhart’s saucer pass to Barkov hanging off the right side of the cage made it 1-0 at 5:28 of the second.
The Panthers were being outshot 21-10 at the time.
On Florida’s next shot, Verhaeghe sniped one past Mikko Koskinen off another nice feed from Reinhart and all of a sudden, the Panthers had a 2-0 lead.
Give Edmonton credit for not packing things up despite its obvious frustration as the Oilers fought for the remainder of the period and took a 29-13 shot advantage into the third.
The Oilers continued their attack and, by most measurable metrics, perhaps should have had a better fate than they did.
Only expected goals do not mean goals on the ice — and it was the Panthers scoring and the Oilers who were not.
Florida all but salted things away with 12:47 left on Barkov’s second of the night, his heavy wrister from 25 feet out set up by a terrific defensive play from Radko Gudas deep in the Florida zone.
— Florida had a bit of a scare late in the second period when Anthony Duclair went hard into the end boards.
Duclair skated off in some pain and went to the Florida room.
He quickly was back on the bench and played the final shift of the period.
Duclair got Florida’s fourth goal with 4:20 remaining; Sam Bennett got No. 5 a little over a minute later. With 1:44 left, Owen Tippett got his first goal since Nov. 20 to wrap things up.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
2. Sasha Barkov, Florida
3. Sam Reinhart, Florida