SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers continued their dominance at home on Monday night, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-3, improving their record at Amerant Bank Arena to 7-1-0.
The Panthers fared well against the Oilers, despite the absence of their captain Aleksander Barkov (lower-body). Florida moves to 12-5-1 on the season, as they still sit second in the Atlantic Division, third in the Eastern Conference.
Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves in his ninth win of the season, stopping all 10 shots he faced in the third period.
Here’s tonight’s takeaways.
Niko Mikkola gets two goals, first-star of the game
In a game with top goal scorers like Connor McDavid, Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisailt and Carter Verhaeghe, it’s only right that 6’5 defenseman Niko Mikkola scored the most goals for the Panthers.
Mikkola, who had one goal in 17 games prior to Monday night, scored twice in what was his first career multi-goal game.
His first goal of the night knotted things up at 2-2, 15:53 into the third period. With the Panthers trailing, he would score again, tying the game 6:08 into the second.
Mikkola didn’t end up getting the third goal — which would have made him just the second defenseman in Panthers history to hit that milestone (Mark Pysk, 2020), but he would finish the night as the first-star.
“Well, that (three goals) would be maybe too much for me,” Mikkola laughed. “Maybe if there’s a chance to shoot it at the empty net I would take it. I’ll take two for sure”
Mikkola now has three goals on the season — tying his previous career-high — which he set in 2021-2022 with the Blues.
Three-point night for Kevin Stenlund
Florida was without their captain Aleksander Barkov, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Missing their No. 1 center, Florida had to do some line juggling. As a result, Kevin Stenlund jumped up to center the third line.
Stenlund would finish with a team-high three points (1-2-3) on Monday, including the game-winning goal.
Even with the multi-point performance, Panthers coach Paul Maurice highlighted Stenlund’s play away from the puck.
“I thought he played great defensively,” Maurice said. “I would say that the best play [he made] was round the back post on the kill. That’s what he has to be elite at.”
Stenlund has been a good depth acquisition for the Panthers. The 27-year-old has seven points in 18 games (5-2-7).
Party in the sin bin
Those who are fans of a calm, quiet game of hockey — tonight was not that night.
Edmonton and Florida only see each other twice a season, and besides a few former Calgary Flames on the Panthers’ side of the ice, this is no Battle of Alberta.
Despite the lack of historical unpleasantries between the two sides, Monday’s game saw a ton of post-whistle interactions, a fight, seven power plays and 46 total penalty minutes.
Tensions were going all night, and both teams could feel it.
“Obviously they have a lot of skill over there and they’re desperate for some wins. But we have a group that wants to compete every night,” said Jonah Gadjovich, who got into a fight in his first home game as a Panther. “We know where we want to be and how we have to play, that’s what we come here to do.”
As for the chippiness in the game and how quickly the two sides felt it, Gajovich said it was “right from the puck drop.”
The Oilers would go 0-3 with the man-advantage. The Panthers were successful on their first powerplay, finishing the night 1-4.
Florida plays their next two games at home: Wednesday night against the Bruins and Friday night against the Jets.
Ryan Lomberg played in his 200th career game on Monday night.