Florida Panthers

Panthers stage rally but fall in overtime to Oilers

When Tuesday’s game started, there were three teams ranked lower than the Panthers in the NHL standings.

Florida has now hit a personal trifecta by losing to all of them. At least Tuesday came with the loser point.

Thanks to a pair of goals from Scottie Upshall in the final 10 minutes, the Panthers forced overtime before losing 4-3 to the Edmonton Oilers at BB&T Center.

The Panthers have a six-game winless streak going as they have lost four in overtime/shootout during that slide. Edmonton’s five-game slump came to an end as it has now won five in a row in Sunrise dating to 2002.

“We’re not even a quarter of a way through the season but there has to be a sense of desperation in our play, a confidence, a major push to give the effort every minute on the ice,” coach Kevin Dineen said.

“It seems we get behind before the engines start revving. We need to start in first and floor it. We need to set the tone. This has to change.”

Upshall, who hadn’t scored all season and only six times in the previous two-plus seasons here, watched Mark Arcobello’s game-winning goal from the penalty box after he pulled down Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 36 seconds into overtime.

Still, the Panthers wouldn’t have been there without Upshall’s goals.

“That was a desperate effort by a desperate [Edmonton] team,” Upshall said. “I thought our line played well, did the little things well. But it’s not good enough. We have a ways to go to being competitive and winning every night. We’re not happy with the way things are going.”

Upshall’s penalty forced the Panthers into a 4-on-3 disadvantage for the second consecutive game in overtime.

On Saturday in Washington, Florida survived Tomas Fleischmann’s infraction to force the shootout. On Tuesday, the Panthers didn’t get that far.

“That’s a high-skilled team and you give them space, they’ll find the opportunity,” Dineen said. “These are points that are slipping away.”

The Panthers opened the game with a rousing jump, taking the game to an Edmonton team that is hurt and had been lit up 19-6 during its winless streak.

Florida took a 1-0 lead midway through the first when Marcel Goc flew up the slot and took a Jonathan Huberdeau feed and lifted a wrist shot past Devan Dubnyk.

That was one of Florida’s few highlights until Upshall broke loose and scored with 9:56 and 57.6 seconds remaining. That at least helped the Panthers pick up a point in the standings. Not much consolation though in a game in which the Oilers dictated play for much of the night.

Edmonton snapped its scoreless stretch of almost three hours of play when Philip Larsen beat Jacob Markstrom with 3:01 left in the first.

The Oilers then scored twice in a 33-second span early in the second but then didn’t solve Markstrom (23 saves) again until overtime.

“[Tuesday night’s game] wasn’t good enough for me,” Markstrom said.

“I want to give the team a chance to win. The second period wasn’t good enough.”

Thomas works out

Goalie Tim Thomas (lower body) worked during Tuesday’s morning skate and could be an option to return to the lineup during Florida’s upcoming road trip — and perhaps even Thursday in Boston.

Thomas led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011 but left after the following season.

• With Kris Versteeg back in the lineup, veteran fourth-line center Scott Gomez found the bench Tuesday with Shawn Matthias moving back to the middle after playing wing the past few weeks.

Gomez, who signed a one-year deal worth $900,000 during the offseason, has a goal and three assists.

Krys Barch and Matt Gilroy also were scratched.

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