SUNRISE — It could be easy for the Florida Panthers to overlook their opponent tonight what with their record coming in. Only it is the Edmonton Oilers.
Although the Oilers are the most disappointing team in the NHL thus far, they are dangerous team with some of the top talent in the entire league.
Edmonton is coming off a 6-4 loss in Tampa on Saturday — but had won three straight before that.
The Oilers (5-10-1) appear on the verge of getting back on track; The Panthers are certainly aware.
“They’re going to put up an awful lot of opportunity,’’ Florida coach Paul Maurice said Monday morning.
“They are just waiting to break out. You just don’t want to be the team they do it on. They’ve had a very difficult start. There’s too many veteran players there to expect that to continue.”
Edmonton, a team which features Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Panthers.
Goaltending has been a problem all season for the Oilers with Jack Campbell placed on waivers and sent to AHL Bakersfield.
Tonight, Calvin Pickard gets his first NHL start since Jan. 28, 2022, after coming up from Bakersfield earlier this month.
Pickard, 31, has played in 116 NHL games prior to tonight.
With the Panthers fresh off a California road trip, Boston coming up on Wednesday and the Oilers ready to start making their move north in the standings, this could be a big challenge.
Throwing in a veteran goalie making his first NHL start in almost two years and, well, this has ‘trap game’ written all over it.
“They are obviously a very talented team,” Carter Verhaeghe said. “One little mistake and they can burn you with all the talent they have. It’s a big challenge Draisaitl.”
— The starting goalies tonight: Pickard vs. Sergei Bobrovsky.
— Florida is 7-2-0 record this month which, as of this weekend, led the league in wins.
Sam Reinhart’s 13 points (5-8, 13) were tied for third-most this month and his 10 even-strength points were tied for the league lead with Sidney Crosby.
— The Panthers have won each of their past five games at home and are 6-1-0 in Sunrise thus far this season. They went 0-1-1 against the Oilers last season.
PANTHERS ON DECK
EDMONTON OILERS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
- Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-120); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6.5 (-150/+125)
- This Season: @Florida, Monday; @ Edmonton, Dec. 16
- Last season: Edmonton won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Oilers lead 23-14-0, 3 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (11-5-1) LINES
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
17 Evan Rodrigues // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 68 Kevin Stenlund // 21 Nick Cousins
94 Ryan Lomberg // 18 Steven Lorentz // 12 Jonah Gadjovich
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour
91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
41 Anthony Stolarz
Scratched: Mike Reilly, Uvis Balinskis
Injured: Sasha Barkov (knee), Josh Mahura (knee-IR)
PROJECTED EDMONTON OILERS (5-10-1) LINES
93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins // 97 Connor McDavid // 28 Connor Brown
91 Evander Kane // 29 Leon Draisaitl // 18 Zach Hyman
37 Warren Foegele // 71 Ryan McLeod // 10 Derek Ryan
21 Adam Erne // 57 James Hamblin
14 Mattias Ekholm // 2 Evan Bouchard
25 Darnell Nurse // 5 Cody Ceci
27 Brett Kulak // 73 Vincent Desharnais
86 Philip Broberg
G 30 Calvin Pickard
G 74 Stuart Skinner
Scratched: Raphael Lavoie, Sam Gagner
Injured: Mattias Janmark (shoulder), Dylan Holloway (lower body)