|@ Panthers (5-3-1)||1||0||3||4|
Gerard Gallant made a bold move by starting Quinton Howden, Vincent Trocheck, and Brandon Pirri tonight instead of the Jagr line that is lacking Barkov. Gallant surely wanted to inject some passion and power into the first couple of minutes of the period, but the Panthers didn’t start getting decent opportunities until about 8 minutes in. Mind you, neither did the Avalanche, but overall, the first half of the first period was fairly lackluster and back-and-forth. With 9:07 left in the period, Dave Bolland was sent to the box for hooking. Now I’m going to say something that I say a lot: thankfully, the Panthers were able to kill the penalty after some great saves by Luongo. However, this 5-on-5 play didn’t last long because just a few moments later, Alex Petrovic was penalized for cross-checking. This time, the penalty kill unit was able to deflect any Avalanche scoring chances and the pressure on Luongo was alleviated. If the Panthers come out next period with the same energy that they had on that second penalty kill, I would be shocked if they weren’t able to score some goals. Brian Campbell’s skillful play resulted in some sloppy moves by the Avalanche and as a result of this, Alex Tanguay was sent to the penalty box for holding. The Panthers went on a power play that would have carried over into the second period had Vincent Trocheck not scored to give the Panthers a one goal lead. The goal was assisted by Brian Campbell and Roberto Luongo (yes, Roberto Luongo). At the end of the period, the Panthers were leading the Avalanche 1-0. The Avalanche had 12 shots on goal and the Panthers had 10. Hopefully, the Panthers can keep this energy going in the second period and throughout the rest of the game.
All it took was one minute of play for the Panthers to get called for a penalty. This time, Dave Bolland was sent to the sin bin on a slashing call. Meanwhile, Jaromir Jagr left with about 5 minutes of play left in the first period and will not return tonight due to a tightened hamstring. To make matters even worse, there would be a little less than a minute of 5-on-3 play because Alex Petrovic fell victim to a delay of game penalty. Both penalties were killed though and 5-on-5 play resumed. Play continued like this deep into the 2nd period and like the first few minutes of the first period, not much was going on. Reilly Smith did, however, get a few good shots in. At the end of the period, the Panthers were still leading 1-0. The Panthers had 19 shots on goal and the Avalanche had 23. Both Jagr and Barkov are injured right now, and this fact is quite clear to see on the ice. The Panthers were not as energetic as I hoped they would be this period and they got away with it because the Avalanche were not doing super well either, but this mediocre gameplay cannot continue into the third period because no team should feel safe with just a one goal lead.
The first real action in the third period came after Francois Beauchemin was called for a wacky tripping penalty on Huberdeau that caused Huberdeau to go flying. Vincent Trocheck, the power play king, capitalized on the man advantage and scored a wrist shot off of a pass from Kulikov. Brian Campbell got the secondary assist. Not long after, Francois Beauchemin was sent right back to the penalty box for cross-checking (again against Huberdeau) and the Panthers went back on the power play. The Panthers continued to dominate on the power play and Reilly Smith got a much deserved goal, assisted by Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck. After a scrum in front of the Panthers’ net, Luongo appeared to be hurt but he continued to play nonetheless. With 7:25 left in the period, Aaron Ekblad was penalized for interference but the Panthers were able to keep the Avs from scoring. In fact, Brian Campbell was able to gain puck possession to score a short handed goal. The goal was assisted by Reilly Smith and Derek MacKenzie. With a minute left in the game, Gabriel Landeskog scored a heartbreaking goal that cost Luongo the shutout. Still, the Panthers won 4-1 in a pretty impressively-played game.
Vincent Trocheck scored two power play goals tonight and assisted the Reilly Smith goal. Brian Campbell did a lot to set up both of the Trocheck goals and he was awarded two assists for his effort. He even got his own shorthanded goal late in the third. This was his first goal of the season. Reilly Smith had numerous shot attempts throughout the game and he was able to capitalize on one in the third period. He also assisted the Soupy shorthanded goal. Then, the Panthers’ long reigning MVP, Roberto Luongo, fought off injury to save all but one of 32 shots for a .969 save percentage.
Gerard Gallant Post-Game Audio
This Friday, October 30th, the Panthers will be taking on the Boston Bruins at home. The game begins at 7:30 and COTP will have a preview and a recap of it, so stay tuned!