Roberto Luongo's stout defense leads Panthers to 4-1 win over Oilers
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers are happy to have Roberto Luongo back in net.
Luongo made 26 saves in his second start since missing nine games with a knee injury to lift Florida over the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Thursday night.
The Panthers won two games in a row for the first time this season. They beat Winnipeg 4-2 in Finland last Friday.
The victory also marked Florida's first in its home rink this season.
"I just wanted to keep building off the last game and make sure that I gave my team a chance to win," Luongo said. "It's nice you get rewarded with a few goals there in the second period and in the third."
Luongo made several big stops early in the first.
"He was the best player on the ice tonight," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "I was a little leery about us starting slow in the first five or 10 minutes. He stopped two or three big-time chances. That's what he does."
Evgenii Dadonov, Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Colton Sceviour scored for the Panthers. Mike Hoffman and Vincent Trocheck each had two assists.
The Panthers defeated Edmonton at home for the first time since March 8, 2002, a span of 10 games.
The Oilers have lost three straight overall.
"You never want to lose three in a row," center Connor McDavid said. "Obviously, it's frustrating but we have to regroup here."
Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers, and Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots.
"I thought today we started well," coach Todd McLellan said. "We had some opportunities early (but) Luongo made some good saves. We didn't bear down."
The Oilers play three of their next four at home.
"We have to come home now and put an end to this streak that we're on," McLellan said. "Good teams find a way to do that. We haven't been able to do it on the road, so we have to do it at home now."
Edmonton closed to 2-1 on Draisaitl's goal 23 seconds into the third period. Draisaitl redirected a pass from McDavid and beat Luongo up high.
Huberdeau's power-play goal from the left circle made it 3-1 at 3:43 of the third. Sceviour added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left.
Dadonov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 6:45 of the second. He took a backhand pass from Aleksander Barkov in front and slid the puck past Talbot while falling to the ice. Dadonov extended his point streak to a career-high nine games.
Bjugstad found a loose puck in front and poked it into the net at 8:12 of the second.
Hoffman's assist on Dadonov's goal made him the fourth player in Panthers history to have a 10-game point streak. ... D Mark Pysyk, who missed six games with an upper-body injury, was cleared to play but got scratched. ... Edmonton has played six of its last eight games on the road.
Oilers: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
Panthers: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.