EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Craig Anderson was the busiest goalie and played the position to perfection.
The Edmonton Oilers fired 41 shots at the Florida Panthers’ netminder and had nothing to show for it in a 2-0 loss on Thursday night. Anderson was up to the task and kept the Panthers in it despite his teammates recording only 16 shots at the other end.
Most of the Oilers’ drives were harmless.
“We might have had five chances in the game that were real opportunities,” Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray said. “The other ones we were just kind of floating in there.
“There were no rebounds, he was seeing everything. He made the saves he had to make, but I don’t think he really stole the show for them. We just didn’t pay the price enough.”
Oilers forward Erik Cole lamented his team’s inability to disrupt Anderson.
“We didn’t have guys going to the front of the net with purpose,” he said. “This is the National Hockey League. If the goaltender sees all the shots, chances are there aren’t going to be any rebounds.
“It’s a game we think we should have won.”
“I thought we played a good road game,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t look at the shot clock.
“They’re a fast team. They’ve been off for four days we knew they were going to throw a lot of speed at us. I thought we kept a lot of their shots to the perimeter. I thought we handled the rebounds really well, and when we didn’t I thought our six defensemen were outstanding.”
Anderson, 10-1-4 in his NHL career when he faces at least 40 shots in a game, also credited the guys in front of him.
“The one thing we did really well was clean up the rebounds and let me see the first shot,” he said. “Our defensemen did a really good job and even our forwards coming back to clean up some of the rebounds and beating their guys to the puck. It helped the team get the win.”
Weiss was pleased that the Panthers put together a solid effort for all 60 minutes.
“We’re going good,” Weiss said. “We’re doing the little things really well. We’re blocking shots and everyone’s on the same page and we’re all moving in the right direction, the same direction.
“When you get 20 guys playing that way, you’re going to have a good chance to win every night. With the goaltending we’re getting, hopefully we can just keep going.”
Edmonton’s three-game winning streak was snapped, and the Oilers fell to 3-4-2 at home.
“We’re a young team,” Souray said. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we certainly don’t want to keep repeating the same mistakes. We’ll keep working on it. We’ll keep hammering the message home. Sooner or later we’ve got to get it.
“We didn’t want to come out like that for sure. It was just a lousy performance.”
The scoreless first period was a reversal from most Edmonton games this season, as the Oilers were able to get 13 shots on Anderson while Florida managed only four against Mathieu Garon.
Edmonton had a good chance early in the second period as Ales Hemsky was sprung on a breakaway, but Anderson made a clutch save.
Florida finally broke the deadlock with five minutes to play in the second period on a power play, as Weiss fired a one-timer past Garon from the top of the circle.
The Oilers continued to press in the third but couldn’t get one past Anderson. Dvorak added an empty-netter to secure the Panthers’ victory.
After playing much of the first quarter of the season on the road, the Oilers will play six of nine and 18 of 23 at home. Oilers forward Sam Gagner was back in the Edmonton lineup after missing two games due to a concussion. The 19-year-old Gagner skated on a fourth-line unit with Liam Reddox and Gilbert Brule. … Injured Panthers David Booth (shoulder), Cory Stillman (concussion), Nathan Horton (laceration), Richard Zednik (elbow) and Cory Murphy (shoulder) all practiced on Wednesday, but were still unable to play. … Panthers D Jay Bouwmeester entered the game leading the Panthers with 16 points. He is the only NHL defenseman leading his team in scoring.