January 16, 2015

After following the longest winning streak in franchise history with one of their worst stretches of the season, the Florida Panthers are glad to finally be back home.

The suddenly slumping Panthers look to bounce back with an eighth consecutive home win Monday night in a matchup with the team they last defeated, the road-challenged Edmonton Oilers.

Florida (26-14-5) went into Edmonton as the NHL's hottest team on Jan. 10 and left with a 12th straight victory and third to start a lengthy six-game trip. The outcomes have been markedly different following that 2-1 win, as the Panthers lost in overtime to Vancouver and were routed 6-0 Wednesday in Calgary prior to Sunday's 3-1 setback to Tampa Bay.

The three-game losing streak - their longest since Nov. 19-23 - has coincided with star defenseman Aaron Ekblad sidelined with a suspected concussion, the result of a hit from Edmonton's Matt Hendricks that earned the Oilers forward a three-game suspension.

While payback may be on the Panthers' minds with Hendricks eligible to return, they're more concerned with reviving a lifeless power play that's 0 for 18 over the last seven games.

"It didn't hurt us during the winning streak, now it's hurting us," Jaromir Jagr said. "We have to fix it somehow. "When you're on a winning streak it looks like everything's easy. When you're on a losing streak it's the other way around. We have to stop it as soon as possible."

A four-game homestand should provide a boost as well. The Panthers were perfect on a six-game residency that preceded the trip and haven't lost in Sunrise since Dec. 8 during another franchise-best streak.

They'll begin the stretch against the league's worst road team in the Oilers, 5-14-4 as the visitor this season and 0-4-3 since a 3-2 overtime win at Boston on Dec. 14.

Edmonton (18-23-5) has won six straight on the road - four via shootout - in this series, however, and enters a three-game trip with some momentum gained from Saturday's 2-1 shootout victory over Calgary that halted an 0-2-2 skid. Cam Talbot continued his hot stretch with 31 saves and the Oilers were 5 for 5 on a penalty kill that hasn't yielded a goal in six of the last seven games.

''It was huge,'' coach Todd McLellan said of the penalty kill. ''We spent eight of the first 24 (minutes) penalty killing. That's the game right there, they get two or three and ... we're not exactly scoring a lot of goals right now, so that's the game."

The Oilers have generated only 22 goals over their last 14 games, with Taylor Hall recording one and Jordan Eberle two over that span. Neither has one in their past six.

Florida has just five goals over its last four after amassing 36 over the first 11 wins of its record streak.

Roberto Luongo also has regressed of late, registering a 3.80 goals-against average during the skid after posting a 1.31 mark over nine consecutive wins - a club record for a goaltender. The veteran may give way Monday to Al Montoya, who's permitted one goal in winning five straight starts and had 24 saves against Edmonton earlier this month.

Talbot owns a 1.36 GAA and .949 save percentage over his past five starts, numbers that landed the potential free agent a three-year extension on Sunday.

"I think in the last nine or 10 games, it has been probably the best hockey I've played in my career so far," Talbot told the Oilers' official website. "I'm feeling more comfortable and confident than I have since I've been in the NHL, I think."

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