|@ Ducks (3-7-2)||0||1||1||0||1||3|
The Anaheim Ducks dominated offensively in the first few minutes of the game and forced Roberto Luongo to make some good saves. After about 5 minutes, the Panthers began to pick up the pace but the score was still tied at zero. With 10:55 left in the period, Roberto Luongo was called for tripping and the Anaheim Ducks went on the power play. The penalty was served by Brandon Pirri. However, the Panthers were able to deflect any shots that came Luongo’s way. Roberto Luongo made a particularly good glove save on Ryan Kesler right after the penalty was killed. Clayton Stoner was called for a penalty at 15:30 for cross-checking Jonathan Huberdeau and the Panthers got their first power play of the game. Brandon Pirri had a couple of decent chances, but the game still remained scoreless. At the end of the period, the Panthers and Ducks were locked at zero and while Anaheim had 14 shots on goal, Florida had 6. The Panthers need to get more offensive opportunities in the second and third periods in order to be able to score. The Panthers have been able to remain superior in the past few games against the Anaheim Ducks and with better offensive play, this pattern could be repeated tonight.
Brandon Pirri has been very prevalent on the ice so far in the game, for better or for worse. At 2:14 into the period, Kevin Bieksa got called for interference after Pirri took a stick to the head. Reilly Smith got a good opportunity to score, but the penalty was nonetheless killed. Derek MacKenzie was able to get the puck on a turn over and he passed it to Quinton Howden and then to Rocco Grimaldi, who scored a much-deserved goal. This goal was Grimaldi’s first of the year. The Panthers’ luck did not last long, as Nick Bjugstad was called for holding almost immediately after the goal was scored. The Ducks’s Chris Stewart was able to take advantage of some traffic in front of the net to tie the game right as the power play ended. Corey Perry now will have served 17 penalty minutes this season after a tripping call and the Panthers went on their third power play of the night. However, the Panthers could not capitalize on this man advantage. It seems that the Panthers were able to start and end the period with a goal. This time, it was Erik Gudbranson who scored a goal assisted by Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau. At the end of the period, the Panthers led the Ducks 2-1. The Panthers had 15 shots on goal and the Ducks had 27. The Panthers were not able to catch up to the Ducks in shots on goal, but they were able to shoot when it counted and those shots paid off. It would still be nice to see the Panthers shoot more often in the third period because a one-goal lead should not feel safe to any team, regardless of their opponent.
The third period started with, you guessed it, a few missed shots by Brandon Pirri. Frederik Andersen had to make some incredible saves in order to keep the puck out of Anaheim’s net. At 2:10 into the period, Brian Campbell was sent to the sin bin on a slashing call and the Panthers would have another penalty to kill. The Panthers killed the penalty but the Ducks certainly did not make it easy on them. The Ducks continued to put pressure on Luongo but he was there to stop every shot. I know last year, the Panthers actually performed at a higher level when they were trailing their opponent in shots on goal and that seems to be the case in this game too. With 4:12 left in the game, Quinton Howden was penalized on a hooking call, leaving the Anaheim Ducks with a prime opportunity to tie the game up. In a game of unbelievable saves by both goalies, Luongo was able to take the cake with a save on Chris Stewart, the sole Ducks goal scorer tonight. It was this save, as well as a few more, that allowed the Panthers to kill the penalty. Before what should have been the end of the game, the Panthers had to be called for just one more penalty because of course they did. This penalty was Brian Campbell’s second of the night and it was a high sticking call. Hold that thought. With 5 seconds left, Corey Perry scored to tie the game up and the Panthers would head into overtime, obviously shaken.
Both teams had a myriad of decent shots in the first minute of the overtime period. Reilly Smith had a chance on the 2-on-1 but to his own disbelief, he could not capitalize. Jagr, the league leader in both overtime and game-winning goals, was absolutely robbed by Andersen just seconds later. Corey Perry had his way with Luongo but both goalies stayed strong to keep the game going and to keep all of the East Coast fans even more tired. This energy-filled overtime period did not yield a goal for either team and the game went to a shootout.
Corey Perry – save
Brandon Pirri – goal
Jakob Silfverberg – goal
Vincent Trocheck – save
Ryan Kesler – save
Nick Bjugstad – save
Chris Stewart – goal
Jonathan Huberdeau – save
Rocco Grimaldi scored the first goal of the game and his first goal of the season in front of nearly 30 family members tonight. I guess some people are just good under pressure. It was a night of firsts, as Erik Gudbranson also scored his first goal of the season tonight. Roberto Luongo, despite not being able to get the shutout or a win, had a fantastic night tonight. He saved 37 of 39 shots for a save percentage of .949.
The Panthers continue their Western Conference road trip tomorrow night, November 5th, at 10:30 pm ET against the San Jose Sharks. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.