Oilers-Panthers Preview

The Associated Press

Frustration is growing for the Edmonton Oilers, and the same could be said of the Florida Panthers.

One of them should feel somewhat better Tuesday night as these teams attempt to end their respective five-game losing streaks.

It's still early but Edmonton (3-10-2) and Florida (3-8-3) are among the worst teams in the NHL, and those struggles appear to be wearing on them.

The Oilers are opening a four-game road trip hoping to avoid a sixth straight loss for the first time since April 4-16. They've been outscored 11-1 in the last three games.

Edmonton turned in its worst offensive showing of the season Saturday, mustering just 14 shots in a 5-0 loss to Detroit. That came after taking a season-high 43 shots in last Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Toronto.

The Oilers haven't scored a goal in 155 minutes, 48 seconds.

"It's tough, it was embarrassing," defenseman Ladislav Smid said Saturday. "I have no words for it and there is no excuses for us.

"People talk about injuries and bad luck and stuff and we can't talk about that anymore. We all have to wake up in here. I don't think there is one person that can be proud of what he did on the ice."

Edmonton has never been shut out in three consecutive games.

"The first thing we need is a positive step," coach Dallas Eakins told the team's official website. "We need a good first five shifts to get us going and get away from the mistakes we're making.

"I think we're a group right now where our guys care so much that they're trying to take on the world themselves, and we end up giving the puck back to the other team. This is a trip that, boy, we'd like to make some hay on."

The Panthers surely empathize with the Oilers' struggles, as they've scored eight goals on their slide after falling 3-2 in a shootout at Washington on Saturday.

"When you're an offensive player and the puck is not going in for you on a consistent basis, there's a frustration in there," coach Kevin Dineen said. "I think as long as our offensive players know we have a belief in them, know that there are skilled guys that we keep putting out there in positions that they can succeed, it's going to pop somewhere along the line."

Jonathan Huberdeau is one of those players. The reigning Calder Trophy winner, Huberdeau hasn't scored a goal in seven games after getting three over the previous four.

He had an assist against the Capitals, but missed his attempt in the shootout.

The Oilers could use some production from Nail Yakupov, who led the team with 17 goals last season. He's scored once so far this season, while his minus-12 rating is among the worst in the NHL.

Ales Hemsky hasn't been much better at minus-11, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz come in at minus-10.

Still, the Oilers have won seven of their last eight meetings with the Panthers, including four straight on the road - the past three in shootouts.