Florida Panthers get many chances, but cannot convert against Oilers
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SUNRISE — Despite putting up at least 40 shots in three consecutive games, the Florida Panthers find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
During those three losses, the Panthers held a 75-67 advantage in scoring chances and a 59-39 advantage in high-danger opportunities.
Those numbers look nice — but have not translated into wins.
“We’re getting shots, we’re getting chances, but pretty much the last three games we’ve been on a one-and-done kind of thing,” Sasha Barkov said after scoring twice in Florida’s 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
“We get a good shot and then there’s no traffic in front, there are no rebound guys ready to put the second chances in. We’re getting chances in front but I still think we needed a lot more guys in front of the net and to be a lot more hungry around the net.”
After outshooting their opponents 90-61 in their previous two losses, the Panthers followed those performances up outshooting the Oilers 47-22.
“I thought they were pretty good shots and they had pretty good looks,” Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette said.
“Games like tonight we might have had six or seven [goals] earlier in the year, but we’ve gotten spoiled with some fortunate bounces and nights like tonight where we don’t get six or seven we have to make sure we don’t let up four.”
Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen stopped 44 of those shots, 21 of which were considered high-danger opportunities.
“You tip your cap [to Koskinen],” Brunette said. “He was excellent.”
On the other hand, Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 22 shots in his second straight start in which he allowed at least four goals.
“I don’t think he’s burnt out and I don’t think anything is wrong with him,” Brunette said. “Unfortunately, we gave up a couple easy goals against him, so that’s more on us.”
Derek Ryan got the scoring started, putting home a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 with Warren Foegele with 9:46 to go in the first.
Frank Vatrano helped tie the game with a beautiful no-look, between the legs pass that went through Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard’s legs and onto the stick of Anton Lundell, who ended the play with a wrist shot with 8:10 left in the first.
“It was a great pass and he was good today,” Lundell said. “Our line was really good and we had a lot of chances.”
Barkov added a goal on the power play with 3:32 to go in the period to give Florida the lead — but it was the only lead they held on the night.
Ryan got his second goal of the night on a give-and-go play with Evander Kane to tie the game for the Oilers 7:29 into the second period.
Leon Draisaitl added a power play goal to that just over three minutes later to give the Oilers a lead they would not relinquish.
A hat trick goal from Ryan with 46 seconds left in the second period pretty much put the game away.
A quiet start to the third period saw multiple Panthers scoring chances come and go without a goal until the Panthers went back to the power play with 4:18 to go.
Jonathan Huberdeau faked a shot before sending a feed to Barkov, who sent a shot past Koskinen to get his second power play goal of the game.
“You know he is going to get the puck; you just need to get open, and he is going to find you. He has been unreal, not just this season, but has been really good his whole career,” Barkov said.
“Obviously, this season, he is more confident than ever. It is a lot of fun to see him play and see him make those plays and create chances.”
However, it was too little, too late.
Koskinen and the Oilers held on, giving the Panthers their third straight regulation loss for the first time since Dec. 16.
The Panthers are now off until Thursday when Ottawa comes to town. The Sens beat the Panthers in the second game of that previous three-game slide.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
OTTAWA SENATORS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM/SiriusXM
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Ottawa leads 56-40-4, ties
- This season — Ottawa leads 1-0: Ottawa 8, @Florida 2 (Dec. 14)
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