SUNRISE, Fla. – Jarret Stoll helped Edmonton get to overtime. The Oilers knew they could take it from there.
Stoll scored twice in the final 1:23 of regulation to force overtime and help the Oilers beat Florida 4-3 in a shootout Thursday, improving their record in tiebreakers to 12-3. Shawn Horcoff scored the only goal in the shootout, and Oilers goalie Mathieu Baron stopped Nathan Horton, Kamil Kreps and Olli Jokinen to send Edmonton into the all-star break tied with Dallas’ record for shootout wins from 2005-06.
“Thank God for the shootouts,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. “Mathieu was great again. Just to be able to be in that shootout, I’m sure the shooters were more relaxed given the circumstances.”
Edmonton’s 12 shootout victories are as twice as many as any other team in the league and make up more than half their total of 23 wins.
“Our goalies make saves, they’re good in the shootouts,” Stoll said. “It’s not too many times I remember anyone getting more than one on us. Matty and Rolo (Dwayne Roloson) do a great job and get us the saves and we’ve got some good shooters.”
Ethan Moreau also scored in regulation for Edmonton, which won for only the second time in its last six games.
Jokinen, Brett McLean, and Gregory Campbell scored for Florida, which snapped a six-game home losing streak with a 5-3 victory over Ottawa in its previous game.
Florida all-star Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves and Garon stopped 32 shots in regulation and overtime in Edmonton’s first visit to the Panthers since Dec. 7, 2002.
Stoll beat Vokoun with a slap shot from the point to make it 3-2 at 18:37 on a power play after the Oilers had pulled Garon.
“We really did a lot of good things tonight,” said McLean, who gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead early in the third period. “That’s the way the hockey gods work sometimes, they can be pretty cruel.”
It was fifth time Florida allowed a game-winning or game-tying goal in the final minute this season.
We were up 3-1 and in control of the game and we found a way to lose a point again, Vokoun said. “It’s definitely disappointing.”
A miscue by Vokoun led to Stoll’s second goal at 19:08. Vokoun went behind the net to play the puck but let it get past him. Stoll raced to the puck and fired a pass to the front of the net that bounced in off the inside of Vokoun’s leg.
“You can get lucky once in a while, can’t you?” Stoll said.
McLean broke a 1-1 tie at 1:20 of the third period when Jokinen’s quick slap shot from the wing went off a defender and then off the skate of McLean, who was standing in front of the net.
Jokinen and McLean then worked a perfect give-and-go at 7:18 for a two-goal lead. Jokinen passed to McLean after crossing the blue-line and then redirected McLean’s pass after getting behind the defenceman.
“It was a miraculous win,” MacTavish said. “I’m not saying we didn’t deserve the result, but the way that it happened was a long shot.”
The Oilers had another goal by Stoll disallowed by a dubious penalty call in the second period when they trailed 1-0.
He beat Vokoun with a slap shot from the point as Vokoun was falling down, but an interference penalty was called on Dustin Penner. Replays showed Penner barely touched Vokoun as he skated across the crease.
Shortly after getting out of the penalty box for taking a slap shot long after the whistle, Moreau tied the game when he beat Vokoun with a wrist shot from the slot.
Campbell scored 1:18 into the game with his second short-handed goal of the season. He stole the puck from Tom Gilbert outside the Florida zone and beat Garon on a breakaway.
“We’ve got to be able to hold the lead,” Jokinen said. “But I guess one point is better than zero.”
Notes: Florida RW Jozef Stumpel missed his eighth consecutive game because of a shoulder injury. … Campbell’s other short-handed goal came Jan. 8 against Pittsburgh. … Edmonton finished its season-long five-game road trip, all against Southeast Division opponents, with a 1-2-2 record.