The Oilers return after a three-game road trip to face off against the Florida Panthers. Two playoff squads from last year looking to climb up the ladder of the standings to compete again this year. Both teams have struggled to find consistent goaltending from their starters, relying on their younger backups to save the day. The Oilers and the Panthers have more capable rosters than the standings might suggest, but for tonight, both teams will have to fight to earn two points to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In their first matchup this year, the Panthers lost to the Oilers on their home ice by a score of 4-2. Both teams tonight look to capitalize on facing a tough opponent. The Oilers look to build on their comeback win Saturday against the Rangers. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers try to regroup after blowing a 4-1 lead in a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues. McDavid, despite the team’s struggles, remains the best player in the NHL. He continues to look down from the top of the NHL’s scoring leaderboard as he racks up points. But the Oilers will need more than just McDavid to take down the Panthers. Tkachuk has been the move the Panthers needed to see more success, as his play has been excellent for the Panthers. But the team as a whole hasn’t found its groove to become a dominant team in the Atlantic Division when they won the President’s Trophy last year.
Players To Watch
For the Panthers, it’s Matthew Tkachuk. The Blues ended a five-game-point streak for Tkachuk, where he posted 10 points (four goals and six assists). Although he is a power forward, Tkachuk plays with a ton of skill. With 27 points in 19 games, Tkahuck is up there in scoring for Wingers. A crafty scorer and underrated playmaker, Tkachuk is a standout player which makes him one of the best Left Wingers in the NHL. There is a reason the Panthers paid a king’s ransom to acquire and sign him.
For the Oilers, Stuart Skinner is the player to watch. Skinner has won the starting role from Jack Campbell. Campbell was supposed to be the saving grace for the Oilers when he signed this off-season. But his terrible play has made him lose his role to the rookie Stuart Skinner. Skinner has a 2.78 GAA and a .921 SV%. He isn’t a flashy goaltender but plays with a lot of confidence for a 24-year-old netminder in his first full season. Despite his record of 4-5, Skinner has kept the Oilers alive in all of the games he has played. Assuming he keeps up this excellent play throughout the season, the Oilers have a much better chance to figure out their kinks and move forward towards success.