|@ Blues (15-7-3)||0||1||0||1|
- The Panthers got an early power play opportunity after Jaromir Jagr was hooked following a speedy zone entry by the top line. On the power play, however, the Panthers were not as speedy. The Blues shut down the Panthers speed through the neutral zone and didn’t allow them to get into the offensive zone to set up.
- The Blues got a power play as well, but registered no shots as the Panthers blocked all of them and kept them to the perimeter or out of the zone. Surprisingly, the Panthers didn’t allow a shot on goal by the Blues until there was about 4 minutes left in the period, and it came courtesy of none other than Vladimir Tarasenko.
- Connor Brickley and Quinton Howden stood out in the 1st period as both were involved physically and were energetic on the forecheck. Howden had 4 hits in the period to lead both teams, and Connor Brickley would’ve given the Panthers the lead had his shot not deflected wide of the net.
- Aleksander Barkov nearly took advantage of a turnover by goaltender Jake Allen who fumbled the puck at the side of the crease. Barkov took the puck around to the other side of the net, but lost control of the puck and was unable to complete the wraparound.
- Brandon Pirri and Jaromir Jagr got in on a 2-on-1, but Jagr couldn’t control the cross-ice pass by Pirri until he reached the goal line and didn’t get a good shot off.
- The Panthers got an early scoring chance when Vincent Trocheck broke in on the left wing after receiving a lead pass from Reilly Smith, but he ended up putting the puck off the outside of the net.
- Aaron Ekblad got several offensive opportunities in the second frame. He put one shot off the crossbar after receiving a pass from Jaromir Jagr and also nearly scored on a rebound in the slot after jumping up in the play. Huberdeau nearly scored as well as he got past the defender and made a move in tight above the blue paint, but lost control of the puck and couldn’t get a good shot off from the goal line.
- Brandon Pirri would get the Panthers on the board first in the 2nd period after scoring on a breakaway. Willie Mitchell made a strong defensive play to break up an offensive opportunity for the Blues, and the puck found its way up to Aleksander Barkov who made a beautiful lead pass through three zones to Pirri and he put it 5-hole on Jake Allen.
- Dave Bolland was called for a hooking penalty in the defensive zone, but once again, the Panthers penalty kill was strong, holding the Blues to just one shot with the man advantage.
- On that penalty kill, Derek MacKenzie got a breakaway, but his wrist shot was stopped by Jake Allen. That wouldn’t be the end of things for MacKenzie in the period as he would capitalize on a Blues turnover in the slot and wind up for a slapshot which went right by Allen for the Panthers’ 2nd goal of the game. The goal came just 13 seconds after the Pirri goal and really gave the Panthers some momentum.
- The Blues would tie things up after David Backes skated up the left wing and flung a shot towards the net which deflected off the skate of Dylan Olsen in front and behind Roberto Luongo. The one-goal lead wouldn’t last long as DerekM MacKenzie took the puck through the neutral zone and over the offensive zone blue line before sending a slapshot from the high slot past Allen for his 2nd goal of the period.
- The Panthers began the period by playing mostly in their own zone, but they were able to make some good defensive plays to prevent the Blues from scoring. Willie Mitchell covered his man at the side of the Panthers’ net and prevented a shot on goal and then blocked a point shot immediately after. Aaron Ekblad broke up a zone entry shortly after which allowed the Panthers to go the other way. Later on, Steven Kampfer broke up a cross-ice pass and prevented another Blues scoring chance.
- In the offensive zone, Jaromir Jagr broke out of the corner with the puck and fought off Paul Stastny to get a shot on goal. That set up a a scoring opportunity for Connor Brickley as Jussi Jokinen sent him a pass from the corner and allowed him to get off a one-timer from the low slot, but it was stopped by Brian Elliot who replaced Jake Allen to begin the 3rd.
- Luongo made a great save after a Paul Stastny backpass found it’s way through the slot and was then put on net by Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko was robbed again after he put a bullet on net that was denied by the glove hand of Luongo.
- The Barkov line with Pirri and Jagr had some offensive zone time early in the period, but they weren’t putting shots on net and instead elected to pass the puck. Vincent Trocheck got in on a 3-on-2 with Smith and Huberdeau who put a wrist shot on net following a drop pass. Jagr got in on a 2-on-1 with Barkov soon after, but Jagr’s attempt at a cross-ice pass was foiled by Jay Bouwmeester in the slot.
- Jonathan Huberdeau nearly scored his 2nd goal of the season after floating into the offensive zone alone and receiving a pass from Reilly Smith who won a board battle on the right wing. The puck was bouncing, however, and he was unable to put it behind Elliot.
- Erik Gudbranson and Jonathan Huberdeau both had empty-net goals waved off in the final two minutes. Gudbranson’s was waved off as a Panther player was still in the offensive zone as his slap shot from the neutral zone sailed into the net, and Huberdeau was called for holding so the play was whistled when he touched the puck and scored.
- Paul Stastny nearly brought the Blues within a goal with less than a minute remaining, but his shot went from one post to the other and did not cross the goal line.
Tonight’s win gives the Panthers their first 3-game winning streak of the season and their first since March 7th – 14th of 2015. They’re also now 8-0-1 when scoring 3 goals or more. The Panthers played well since the drop of the puck as they were winning board battles, make smart plays defensively, and worked hard overall. Most of the 3rd period was spent in the Panthers’ own zone, but that was to be expected with the Blues trying to tie the game up, and the Panthers held their composure. The Panthers hard work led to scoring opportunites and they didn’t back down from the Blues’ physical game.
The Florida Panthers will continue their road trip on Thursday, December 3rd at 8:00pm ET against the Nashville Predators. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.