Nugent-Hopkins put a backhander past Jose Theodore to bring the Oilers their fourth win in six outings.
The Panthers have dropped two in a row, but they maintained their four-point lead over Washington at the top of the Southeast Division when the Capitals fell to Winnipeg. Florida had won its previous seven home games and Friday's loss prevented the Panthers from setting a franchise record in that department.
The only two goals scored in regulation came in a span of less than 4 minutes of the second period. Ryan Jones tallied for Edmonton and Jason Garrison tied it -- both goals coming on slap shots.
The win went to Devan Dubnyk, who made 26 saves. Theodore stopped 20 shots.