Oilers battle back to hand Panthers 4th straight loss
Connor McDavid scores twice, adds goal in shootout
Connor McDavid bailed out his Edmonton Oilers again on Thursday.
McDavid had two goals — including the tying score with eight seconds left in regulation — and an assist, and another goal in the shootout as the Oilers battled back for a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
"We found a way to win a game where maybe we didn't deserve it. But we stuck with it. It was gritty," McDavid said. "There was just a terrible bounce for them to go ahead in the third. To lose on that would have been disappointing."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored in the shootout while Darnell Nurse had the other in regulation for the Oilers (21-20-3), who have won three of their last five games on the heels of a six-game losing streak.
Edmonton had also lost five in a row at home.
"We were exhausted," said Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock. "I thought our players really gutted it up in the third period. Everybody knew, halfway through the first period, we had nothing. They just helped each other through.
"It's a hell of a sign for having absolutely zero in the tank. To come up with two points is, for me, really, really impressive."
Frank Vatrano, Denis Malgin and Henrik Borgstrom responded for the Panthers (17-17-8), who have lost four games in a row.
WATCH | McDavid extends Panthers struggles
"It was unfortunate the way it ended, eight seconds to go to get two points, I thought we played a heck of a road game," said Panthers head coach Bob Boughner.
"I think we gave up 18 shots in regulation. We produced some chances, we scored a big goal at the end, we did a lot of good things. I feel bad for the guys, because I thought they worked hard, I thought they responded."
Florida started the scoring just before the midway mark of the first period when Vatrano scored his 12th on a shot that Oilers goalie Cam Talbot got a piece of before it trickled in.
Edmonton got that goal back just 26 seconds later when Alex Chiasson dropped the puck back to a trailing Nurse and he blasted a shot past Panthers starter James Reimer. McDavid picked up his 40th assist of the season on the play.
The Panthers regained the lead four-and-a-half minutes into the second period when the Oilers got caught running around and Malgin scored on a big rebound.
After failing to get a shot on a two-man advantage, the Oilers tied it up with 22 seconds left in the middle frame when McDavid had an empty cage to shoot it into at the side of the net, scoring his 25th goal of the season.
Florida got a lucky bounce to go up 3-2 with six minutes to play when Borgstrom put a puck on net that bounced off of a pair of Oilers defenders — Caleb Jones and then Adam Larsson — before caroming into the Edmonton net.
"I have never scene a bounce like that," Talbot said. "You get ones that go off of skates and at least they are being funnelled towards the net. That one was being pushed away from the net and somehow ended up back in it."
The Oilers tied the game up with Talbot pulled and just eight seconds left as McDavid tucked it through Reimer's legs to send the game to extra time.
The Panthers play the third game of a five-game road trip in Calgary on Friday, while the Oilers remain home to welcome the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.