The Edmonton Oilers may have hit rock bottom Thursday night, suffering a 6-0 loss to the Florida Panthers for their seventh straight defeat.

The Oilers, who opened the season 9-1, have dropped out of the playoff picture with their record sitting at 18-16-2. 

“This right here, it’s a test for all the leaders on our team,” defenceman Darnell Nurse said after Thursday's loss. “Getting out of this is what’s going to make our team better. There’s no excuse. No ‘fountain of tricks.’ You’ve got to show up every day with your hard hat on — that’s the only way to get out of this. There are no tricks. To be a leader, you have to show up every day.

“That’s our job. It’s what we have to do to dig our way out of this. This is when you really have to lead.”

Thursday's loss marked the sixth time in the past seven games that the Oilers allowed four or more goals. With Mike Smith sidelined by injury and Stuart Skinner in the COVID-19 protocol, Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 of 28 shots Thursday, while at the other end, Sergei Bobrovsky posted a 40-save shutout.

"We had a good start and then they get the lead and then we're chasing it," Oilers’ veteran Duncan Keith added. "No matter who you're playing and what game you're in, it's always hard playing from behind.

"The way things are going right now, it's been tough, it's frustrating, but at the end of the day, it's going to have to be us in there that pull it together and find a way to stick in those games and keep it close." 

Edmonton has won just two games since defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Dec. 1 to improve to 16-5 on the season. General manager Ken Holland said earlier this month he doesn't believe in mid-season coaching changes, but the pressure appears to be mounting for head coach Dave Tippett.

"Losing [stinks], you have to keep powering through it," Tippett said Thursday. "We worked all week and a lot of the game, we worked, we just didn't get any results for our work. Then we got behind and we got chasing."

The Oilers are scheduled to host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.