The Panthers scored on their first and third shots of the night Sunday and it was just enough for yet another victory.
Florida’s 2-1 victory over host Edmonton extended its franchise-record winning streak to 12 games as the Panthers have won 18 of 21 since Thanksgiving going into Monday’s late game at Vancouver.
The Pittsburgh Penguins hold the NHL record for consecutive victories with 17 in 1993. The Panthers’ current streak is 10th-longest all-time.
“We weren’t very good,” coach Gerard Gallant said, “but we were good enough to win.”
After the Edmonton win, the Panthers were 3-0 on their six-game road trip. Following Monday’s late game in Vancouver — with Roberto Luongo scheduled to start in net — the Panthers visit Calgary on Wednesday.
“We have to play better as a team,” Jonathan Huberdeau said. “But good teams find ways to win.”
The Panthers didn’t play a great game by any stretch as they seemed to shut things down after dominating play in the first eight minutes by grabbing a 2-0 lead.
Edmonton outshot Florida 25-14 in a very physical game that saw Nick Bjugstad get into his first NHL fight in defense of a teammate as well as star defenseman Aaron Ekblad run head-first into the glass during a chippy third period.
Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks was scheduled to have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL’s player safety department for the hit on Ekblad — even though on-ice officials didn’t call anything on Hendricks.
After the hit, Ekblad stumbled when trying to get to his skates but eventually made it to the bench before skating into the locker room.
After a few minutes of being checked out by the Panthers’ medical staff, Ekblad returned to the ice and played three shifts to close out the game.
Logan Shaw had his first NHL fight as well for taking on Hendricks after the questionable hit.
“It’s all about team,” said Gallant, who was seen screaming at officials after the hit.
“Players in the NHL defend their teammates. But that’s why we’re winning games. We have a good group of guys. I wasn’t too happy with some of the hits, but we’ll move on.”
Jaromir Jagr started the scoring 3:22 in by picking the pocket of defenseman Darnell Nurse in the Florida zone and breaking out.
Jagr, who has five goals in his past six games and leads the Panthers with 15, raced up ice and beat Cam Talbot with a soft shot as the puck rolled off his stick.
The Oilers appeared to tie the score a few minutes later when Taylor Hall scored. But Gallant challenged the call. Video showed the Oilers were way offside, and the goal was taken off.
The Panthers quickly made it 2-0 when Sasha Barkov dug the puck off the backboards and saw Huberdeau charging toward the net. Barkov hit him on the tape and Huberdeau picked up his second goal in the past three games.
“We were in the zone for a little bit,” said Huberdeau, who has 13 points during this winning streak. “I was wide open in front and Barkov did a great job getting me the puck.”
Edmonton eventually got a goal that stuck, making the score 2-1 with 7:28 left in the first when Mark Letestu scored his sixth of the season.
Surprisingly, there would be no more scoring — but not because of a lack of effort by the Oilers.
Although shots on goal and scoring chances were close in the first, Edmonton dominated the offensive play in the second and outshot Florida 14-2.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favors,” Erik Gudbranson said. “We turned the puck over too many times against a team that transitions very well. We created the trouble we got into.”
Goalie Al Montoya gave the Panthers another terrific performance as he won his fifth consecutive game by giving up a single goal in each of them.
Montoya, who was almost replaced by Talbot had general manager Dale Tallon completed a deal with the New York Rangers at the June draft, ended with 24 saves, including 21 in the final 40 minutes.
“I feel like my game keeps going forward,” said Montoya, who is 7-1-1 this season with saves on 94 percent of shots faced.
“I know I have more to give, I know I have more to learn. I learn every night from [Roberto] Luongo in the pipes and he’s been phenomenal.”
▪ Bjugstad didn’t find the scoresheet Sunday but was the recipient of the “Spacey In Space” sweatshirt awarded to the team MVP.
Bjugstad jumped Edmonton’s Eric Gryba for his first NHL fight after Gryba ran Corban Knight into the boards near the Florida bench.
Not only did Bjugstad get numerous stitches for large cuts on his forehead thanks to a busted visor, but he also took a two-minute instigator penalty as well as a 10-minute misconduct for taking Gryba on.
“The boys were psyched because I finally got that first one under my belt,” Bjugstad said. “The visor broke on me so I got cut up pretty good. But it was a good adrenaline rush and a good team win.”
▪ The Panthers’ win Sunday was their final one at Rexall Place in Edmonton as the Oilers will move into a new downtown arena next season and leave behind the building they won five Stanley Cups in.
Florida won its final two games at Rexall and went 5-7-1 since winning its first game there 5-3 on March 9, 1994.
The Panthers also won their final game at Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders last season.