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NHL: Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers seeking to consolidate top spots this weekend

It has been another thrilling week of NHL action. There have been some surprises too, but there are some fascinating fixtures to look forward to this weekend. We will preview three games, including the Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers, and Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers. We will also divulge the latest match odds.

Edmonton Oilers made to pay the price for slow start against Detroit Red Wings

While things may appear rather rosy for the Oilers as they sit atop the Pacific Division with a 9-2 record, a worrying pattern has emerged in recent games. Against the Red Wings, the Oilers were rather lethargic, and slow coming out of the traps. The Oilers were outplayed for the opening 40 minutes, and they slumped to a 4-2 defeat.

And Oilers centre Connor McDavid was distinctly unimpressed with his side’s display, admitting they are giving themselves too much to do in games. He said: “We can’t keep digging that kind of a hole.” Before the Oilers face the Sabres, they will be looking for a quick response against the Boston Bruins.

Buffalo Sabres need to shake off recent woes

While the Oilers have been under par of late, they may not be too concerned about a trip to face the Sabres. Indeed, the Sabres have lost their last five NHL games on the trot, and they are in a downward spiral. The Sabres struggled in the power play against the Washington Capitals, and they need to regroup quickly.

Washington Capitals get respite against the Buffalo Sabres

The Capitals have been asked plenty of questions in recent weeks, and most of them they have been unable to answer. But it seems like against the Sabres, the Capitals turned a corner. Alex Ovechkin netted his 741st career goal in the victory, tying Brett Hull for fourth in the all-time NHL list.

Washington Capitals bring back Aliaksei Protas and Zach Fucale

Ultimately it is a sign of the extent of the injury list at the Capitals that they have recalled two players. Centre Aliaksei Protas and goaltender Zach Fucale have come back from the Hershey Bears, and with centre Nic Dowd placed on the injury reserve list, the Capitals are short of bodies.

Jakub Voracek springs into life for Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have built up steam, and their 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche last week was their third victory in a row. And one player that has stood out of late, has been Jakub Voracek. After a historic 7-3-0 start, Voracek has met expectations.

Voracek has given the Blue Jackets the spark they have craved for a long time. In 10 games this season, he has been averaging an assist per game, and off the ice he appears to be happy. The Blue Jackets have made him feel at home, and Voracek has proved his worth with his stellar performances.

The Blue Jackets have a packed schedule with three games in four nights, and most of these are against teams with a winning record. Meanwhile, Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has returned to Columbus to finish off his isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19 in New York at the end of last month.

Florida Panthers stopped in their tracks by New Jersey Devils

The Panthers have been exceptional for the large part in the early stages of the season. But back-to-back defeats against the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will have sent alarm bells ringing. The defeat against the Devils was particularly worrying, as the Panthers were on the wrong end of a 7-3 scoreline.

Nevertheless, the Panthers are still top of the Atlantic Division with a 10-2-1 record. Saturday night’s clash with Tampa Bay is rather intriguing. The Lightning’s form has been mixed of late, but they are the reigning NHL champions. And they won’t want to give up their title without a fight.

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