NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, November 5th
(All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (3-10-2) at Florida Panthers (3-8-2), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers were both
looking to take some steps forward this season, but a month into the schedule
they instead find themselves with similar struggles.
The two clubs meet on Tuesday night in Florida looking to snap five-game
The Oilers and Panthers are both near the bottom of the standings in the NHL
thanks to their season-long struggles. Edmonton is last in the Western
Conference with just eight points, while Florida is 14th out of 16 clubs in
the East with nine points.
The Oilers have lost five straight for the second time already this season,
notching a pair of 0-4-1 droughts, while the Panthers' season-long skid has
produced two regulation defeats along with a trio of shootout setbacks.
Both clubs will try to avoid losing six in a row for the first time since
April of last season. Edmonton did so from April 4-16, while Florida's came on
April 11-21 and both teams failed to secure a single point over their
Edmonton has been shut out in back-to-back games, losing 4-0 to Toronto on
Tuesday before suffering a 5-0 loss to Detroit on Saturday. Both setbacks came
at home and the Oilers were outshot 31-14 by the Red Wings.
The Oilers have not scored since 4:12 into the second period of a 2-1 shootout
setback to Los Angeles on Oct. 27.
"We had no one stand up and push back," said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins.
"We've got a group that is hurting. They're dying. They've lost their
confidence. The best way to get your confidence back is with some success and
it starts with one guy to push back. It feeds the rest of the group.
"My job right now is I've got to find a way to give this group some
confidence. They're dying. They're hurting. I believe they are trying, but
we're playing scared right now. You can't play scared in this league or you're
going to get killed."
Edmonton goalie Richard Bachman suffered an injured groin in the first period
after allowing two goals on nine shots and Jason LaBarbera gave up three goals
on 22 shots in relief.
Bachman was making his third straight start with Devan Dubnyk out with a
sprained ankle, but is not expected to be in uniform tonight. Nor are
defenseman Anton Belov and Justin Schultz due to injury, so Edmonton recalled
Taylor Fedun from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League and the 25-year-
old defenseman could make his NHL debut tonight.
Also, Dubnyk and forward Ryan Smyth are expected to be in uniform tonight for
the Oilers. Smyth has been out since Oct. 22 with a groin injury and practiced
on a line with Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov, while it is unknown if Dubnyk will
start or dress as the backup.
After leaving its home fans frustrated, Edmonton begins a four-game road
trip tonight and has not lost in Florida since March 8, 2002. The Oilers have
won each of their past four trips to Sunrise, including three straight in a
The Panthers have lost seven of their last eight versus the Oilers overall and
are coming off Saturday's 3-2 shootout defeat to Washington.
Tomas Fleischmann scored during a 4-on-3 power play with 2:38 left in
regulation to force extra time, but Scott Clemmensen failed to stop any of the
three skaters he faced in the shootout after posting 21 saves through
"I'm still confident in our guys," said Florida coach Kevin Dineen.
Jesse Winchester also scored for the Panthers, who have just one victory in
their last nine games.
With Tim Thomas still not ready to return from a lower-body injury, Clemmensen
or Jacob Markstrom will start tonight. Markstrom has never faced the Oilers,
while Clemmensen allowed two goals on 28 shots in a loss the only other time
he faced them.
Dubnyk stopped 26-of-27 shots faced to win his only encounter with the
Panthers, while LaBarbera has never started against Edmonton. He did stop all
eight shots faced in one relief appearance.
11/05 10:43:17 ET