SUNRISE — As it stands, Saturday’s game between the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers will feature the three top scorers in the NHL: Jonathan Huberdeau, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Huberdeau leads the pack with 74 points while Edmonton’s McDavid and Draisaitl each have 73.
“Huby is one of the most patient superstars in the entire league, his ability to make plays is unmatched,” Aaron Ekblad said.
“His visibility on the ice is truly incredible and it’s fun to be on the ice with him at all times. You might be on the receiving end of one of those silky passes or when you pass to him, he’s gonna score. He’s an All-Star, he’s a superstar, and he is an MVP in this league and I will be pushing for that all season long.”
In his last nine games, Huberdeau has 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) and has recorded at least two points in his last five games.
“We’ve spoken daily about this, he has had a tremendous season and he keeps producing night after night,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said.
Meanwhile, Edmonton’s two-headed monster of McDavid (4-5-9) and Draisaitl (2-6-8) has combined for 17 points over their past five games.
“They’re both really skilled players,” Eetu Luostarinen said. “We have to look at where they are on the ice and be ready.”
The Panthers come into this game on a two-game losing streak — the first time they have lost two straight in regulation since Covid hit the team in mid-December.
Both of those losses (to Ottawa and Los Angeles) also came in Sunrise.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a bounce-back game, but it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows,” MacKenzie Weegar said.
“Losing might be a good thing for our team. We might have to face adversity at different times of the year and this is one of them.”
The Oilers are on a two-game regulation losing streak of their own, dropping games to Tampa Bay and Minnesota after riding a five-game winning streak.
Saturday will be the second of a five-game road trip after losing the opener 5-3 to the Lightning.
Per Brunette, Sergei Bobrovsky will start in net after Jonas Johansson allowed five goals on 27 shots on Thursday while not disclosing any other lineup changes.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
EDMONTON OILERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM, SiriusXM
- DraftKing’s NHL odds — Florida favored: Puck line (-1.5, +130); Money line (-190); Over/Under 6.5 (+165/-190)
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Edmonton leads 20-14-0, 3 ties
- This season — Florida leads 1-0: Florida 6, @Edmonton 0 (Jan. 20)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 98 Maxim Mamin
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 8 Sam Bennett // 10 Anthony Duclair
17 Mason Marchment // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
32 Lucas Carlsson // 62 Brandon Montour
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
35 Jonas Johansson
Scratched: Noel Acciari, Olli Juolevi, Frank Vatrano
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Joe Thornton (IR)
PROJECTED EDMONTON OILERS LINEUP
71 Ryan McLeod // 97 Connor McDavid // 18 Zach Hyman
91 Evander Kane // 29 Leon Drasaitl // 56 Kailer Yamamoto
37 Warren Foegele // 93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins // 10 Derek Ryan
14 Devin Shore // 70 Colton Sceviour // 16 Tyler Benson
25 Darnell Nurse // 75 Evan Bouchard
84 William Lagesson // 5 Cody Ceci
80 Markus Niemelainen // 22 Tyson Barrie
41 Mike Smtih
19 Mikko Koskinen
Injured: Oscar Klefbom, Josh Archibald, Kyle Turris, Zack Kassian, Duncan Keith, Jesse Puljujarvi
Edmonton Oilers lines courtesy Daily Faceoff