|@ Panthers (9-9-4)||1||1||0||1||3|
The Islanders dominated in the first three minutes of the game, but the Panthers were able to gain some possession time after that. It is important for the Panthers to stay on top of the Islanders all night tonight because they have been playing below expectations and cannot anyways be trusted to come back in the third period. Thankfully, the Panthers were able to do exactly that. Brandon Pirri sniped the puck top shelf and not only gave the Panthers the lead but also gave the fans a glimpse of last year’s Pirri. The goal was assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Erik Gudbranson. This play was followed by a brawl by Luongo’s net, but no penalties were awarded to either team as a result. The Islanders were able to get a few shots in, but the Panthers were always one step ahead of them. At the end of the period, the Panthers led 1 to 0. The Cats had 11 shots on goal while the Isles had 9. In past games, the Panthers had trouble finding balance between risk and reward. Either they played too recklessly and were burdened by penalties or they didn’t take enough risks because they were afraid to be penalized. In this first period, the Panthers finally found that balance. They were able to score but did not have any penalties. If they keep this play up throughout the game, there is no reason why they can’t take away a win.
The first five minutes of the second period were fairly slow but then, Jussi Jokinen struck on Halak’s fairly open net and scored to widen the Panthers’ lead. The goal was assisted by Vincent Trocheck. Shortly after, the first penalty of the period was awarded to the Islanders and more specifically, Mikhail Grabovski. The hooking call gave the Panthers a power play opportunity. The Panthers looked good on the advantage but were still unable to score. In the next few minutes, the Islanders huffed and puffed but could not blow Luongo’s house down. The rest of the team contributed to this by preventing the Islanders from getting too many opportunities. At the end of the period, the Panthers led 2-0 and had 18 shots on goal, while the Islanders had 15. The Panthers actually played exactly like they did last period in this one. They scored a goal, kept the puck out of Luongo’s net, had a decent amount of shots, and kept themselves out of the penalty box. Since it has worked for them so far, the Panthers should definitely keep up this gameplay in the third.
The Islanders were certainly fighting back early in the third, but at this point, the Panthers were the kings of blocking shots, with 12. Luongo didn’t need to do as much work as he had to in past games. However, the Isles began to fight harder after the first five minutes and it paid off. The Islanders’ Ryan Strome scored to put the team only one goal behind the Panthers. It seems that whenever the word “shutout” is uttered, the opponent immediately scores on Luongo. The terror didn’t stop there, as the Islanders tied the game up just two minutes later by the hands of Josh Bailey. Momentum can shift in an instant and that was clearly the case here. After this incident, the Panthers tightened up their defense but did not focus much on offense. The teams got into another brawl in front of Luongo’s net, but this one was much bigger. It was a long-lasting gift and even Luongo joined in. As a result, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas of the Islanders and Derek MacKenzie and Alex Petrovic of the Panthers were penalized. Then, with no cool off period at all, there was a huge brawl in front of Halak’s net. I think it’s safe to say that these teams are fired up. Luongo made a monster save with just over a minute to go in the game, but while the Panthers admired their goalie’s incredible save, they forgot how many men were supposed to be on the ice at a time. They got a bench minor for too many men that would carry over into overtime. The Panthers must have felt fairly safe coming into the third because they played much more defensively than offensively. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and the Panthers had 23 shots on goal, while the Islanders had 25.
Connor Brickley had an incredible breakaway opportunity right after exiting the penalty box but the puck was just wide. The Panthers continued to get quality shots on net, but none made it past Halak. The overtime was actually 4-on-4 until there was one minute left in overtime because after the penalty was killed, the whistle didn’t blow until that point. The 3-on-3 play didn’t yield any goals either and the game went into a shootout.
- Brandon Pirri – goal
- Frans Nielsen – goal
- Vincent Trocheck – goal
- Kyle Okposo – goal
- Nick Bjugstad – goal
- John Tavares – goal
- Jonathan Huberdeau – goal
- Josh Bailey – goal
- Aleksander Barkov – goal
- Brock Nelson – no goal
Brandon Pirri showed the fans his sniping ways by getting the Panthers on the board in the first period. He also sniped Halak in the shootout. Jussi Jokinen also shot the puck multiple times until he scored early in the second. Roberto Luongo played extremely well in the first two periods but then he let in two quick goals in the third. Then, who can forget Aleksander Barkov’s game winner in the shootout!
The Panthers will begin a 5 game road trip on Sunday, November 29th at 2:00 pm ET against the Detroit Red Wings. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.