EDMONTON – Marc Pouliot scored the shootout winner as the Edmonton Oilers finally recorded a pre-season victory for the first time in four tries, defeating the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night.
Edmonton improved to 1-1-2, avenging a 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers on Wednesday. Tyler Spurgeon and Robert Nilsson scored in regulation for the Oilers. Radek Dvorak and Anthony Stewart replied for the Panthers, who dropped to 2-1 in exhibition play. They had been looking to start a pre-season 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Edmonton scored first eight minutes into the first period as Spurgeon stole the puck along the sideboards and skated in front of the Panthers net before sending a long backhand past Florida starter Tomas Vokoun.
It looked like Spurgeon may have had a second goal with three minutes to play in the period, but the whistle had sounded a split second before he batted in a puck under Vokoun.
Florida replaced Vokoun with Craig Anderson midway through he second, and he came under fire early during an Oiler two-man advantage. Edmonton made good on it as Sam Gagner feathered a beautiful pass through the crease to Nilsson, who was unprotected at the side of the net and had an easy tap-in to make it 2-0.
Florida finally scored midway through the third as Dvorak was able to lift a puck over Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon, who had been knocked out of the play by Rostislav Olesz.
The Panthers kept on pressing in the late stages and managed to tie it up with 1:42 remaining as Stefan Meyers sent a long shot on net and Stewart was able to deflect it past Garon.
The Panthers play in Calgary on Friday while the Oilers get a bit of a break before hosting the Flames next Tuesday.
Notes: The Oilers took an axe to their training camp roster on Thursday afternoon, sending 15 players packing. Fourteen of those are heading to their AHL affiliate in Springfield. Off to the Falcons are goaltender Andrew Perugini, defencemen Sebastien Bisaillon, Josef Hrabal, Jake Taylor, Cody Wild and Bryan Young and forwards Hans Benson, Justin Chwedoruk, Garet Hunt, Bryan Lerg, Colin McDonald, Sean McMorrow, Ryan O’Marra and Geoff Paukovich. Edmonton also returned 2008 first round draft choice Jordan Eberle to the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League The Panthers were playing their third game in as many nights, following a pair of 3-2 victories against Calgary and Edmonton the two nights previous. Florida has six consecutive pre-season games on the road in six nights The Oilers were playing their fourth game in four nights. Losing all three of their first three by one goal.