January 10, 2015

While they weren't in top form in their latest game, the Florida Panthers played well enough to remain the NHL's hottest team.

The Panthers seek to extend their franchise-record win streak and set another club mark with a sixth consecutive road victory Sunday night when they face a team they've often struggled to beat, the Edmonton Oilers.

Florida (25-12-4) didn't register a shot on goal in its first 12 minutes Thursday in Ottawa and matched a season low with 16. The Panthers, though, earned their 11th consecutive victory by edging the Senators 3-2.

Reilly Smith and Vincent Trocheck scored eight seconds apart in the opening period on Florida's first two shots. The Panthers gave up 32 shots but earned their second victory in a row to open a season-high six-game trip.

Florida's win streak in the longest in the league since Boston's 12-game run March 2-22, 2014.

"I don't think by any means that was our best game. I think it was probably one of our worst in the last 11, but for some reason or another right now, we're finding ways to win games," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "It's nice. We'll take them. We are not going to always be playing 100 percent and sometimes we'll be off a little bit. If we can still find ways to win, it's always a bonus."

The Panthers are 2-5-5 since 2002-03 against the Oilers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2005-06. They lost 3-2 in a shootout Jan. 17 but did earn just their second win in their past 10 visits to Edmonton six days earlier.

"Every time you face a team that's on a winning streak you want to be that team to beat them," Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. "It's definitely very exciting for us and we're going to do whatever we can to beat them."

The Oilers (17-22-3) are once again one of the worst teams in the Western Conference and are 3-7-1 in their last 11. Edmonton, though, is 9-3-0 in its past 12 home games and some bad luck cost it a third straight victory at Rexall Place on Friday.

Tampa Bay scored all of its goals in a 3-2 win on pucks that bounced off Oilers skaters in the third period. Justin Schultz and Benoit Pouliot scored for Edmonton in each of the first two periods.

"It's extremely frustrating," goaltender Cam Talbot said. "Especially where we are in the standings. We need every point that we can get. When points slip away like that when you are doing the right things for most of the game, that is tough to swallow."

With games on back-to-back nights, Florida is expected to start Al Montoya in net for this one and Luongo on Monday against his former team, Vancouver. Montoya has never faced Edmonton and might want to keep a close eye on Jordan Eberle.

The Oilers forward has a combined four goals in his last three matchups with Florida.

Edmonton coach Todd McLellan announced Saturday that No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid is not scheduled to return until after the All-Star break. McDavid hasn't played since Nov. 3 because of a broken collarbone.

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