Recap: Panthers @ Devils, 12/17/15

Final 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Panthers (16-12-4) 2 1 2 5
@ Devils (16-12-4) 0 0 1 1

First Period

  • After getting caught on a long shift, Jonathan Huberdeau was called for an early hooking penalty forcing the Panthers to go on the penalty kill. The Devils got two short opportunities in the offensive zone, but the rest of the time was spent chasing the puck as the Panthers iced it out.
  • The Panthers went on the power play shortly after, but they wouldn’t get anything going until their second power play opportunity which came immediately after the first one ended. Brandon Pirri received a pass from Vincent Trocheck and he then found Jussi Jokinen who snuck in behind the Devils defense and put a wrist shot past Cory Schneider.
  • After the power play, the Panthers kept the pressure on the Devils. The top line of Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr did what they do best and that is cycle the puck around the offensive zone and create scoring opportunities. After Brian Campbell held the puck in at the blue line, he sent the puck to Jaromir Jagr who then backhanded it to Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov slid down from his point position and put a wrist shot behind Schneider to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead and his first of the year.
  • The Devils got another power play opportunity after the Kulikov goal, but fortunately for the Panthers, the two minutes consisted of a near breakaway scoring chance for Reilly Smith and Erik Gudbranson keeping the puck pinned to the halfwall in the defensive zone for a good 15-20 seconds.
  • Al Montoya didn’t face too many challenging shots, but he was strong nonetheless. He stopped a couple shots through a screen and made a nice stop on a deflection in front. The Panthers were solid defensively in front of him in the first period so that made it easier for Montoya.

Second Period

  • The Panthers got an early power play after Huberdeau was hooked in the offensive zone, and both units were passing the puck really well with the man advantage. The power play essentially ended after Huberdeau whiffed on a pass and the Devils were able to exit the zone.
  • Right after the power play, however, the Logan Shaw, Brandon Pirri, and Corban Knight entered the offensive zone on a 2-on-1. With Knight driving to the net, Shaw sent a slap shot towards the net, and with Cory Schneider down, Pirri put home the rebound to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead. Both Shaw and Knight got their first NHL assists on the goal. The Panthers were close to making it 4-0 when Shawn Thornton went in on a 3-on-1 with Willie Mitchell and Rocco Grimaldi, but Thornton held the puck too long and the puck  was easily stopped by Schneider.
  • After the Pirri goal, things really died down in terms of offensive opportunities and pressure for both teams. The play became more even and the Devils had a few chances, but overall, there was nothing to speak of.
  • Al Montoya got run over after Aaron Ekblad gave a Devils player a shove into the goaltender, but fortunately he wasn’t injured and got right back up.

Third Period

  • To be quite honest, the first 7 minutes of the 3rd period were fairly uneventful and boring. However, that changed quickly when a scrum in front of the net allowed Reilly Smith to poke a lose puck over the pad of a sprawled out Cory Schneider and therefore gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
  • After Dylan Olsen was called for an interference penalty past the halfway point of the period, the Devils would go on their 3rd power play of the night. Mike Cammalieri rang a shot off the post with a one-timer, but Al Montoya’s shutout bid would end when a Sergey Kalinin one-timer found the back of the net under a minute later.
  • The Devils pulled Cory Schneider for the extra attacker with under 5 minutes to go and that opened the door for Logan Shaw to wind up for an empty-net goal, giving him two empty netters in his past 5 games played and the Panthers a 5-1 lead.
  • The 4th-line of Thornton-Grimaldi-Howden was surprisingly effective in the 2nd and 3rd period in the offensive zone. Thornton lead the Panthers with 3 shots and the line combined for 7.

Wrap Up

Overall, the Panthers played a pretty good game. They picked up where they left off against the Devils a week and a half ago, and played a more controlling game than they did the other night against the Islanders. Rather than have the play taken to them, they took the play to their opponent and were backed up by another strong performance in net by Al Montoya. When all was said and done, 4 Panthers players had 2-point nights (Shaw, Knight, Jokinen, Trocheck) and Brandon Pirri had a 3-point night (1 goal, 2 assists). The Panthers have now won 7 of their last 9 road games, 8 of their past 11 games, have 15 goals over their last 4 games, and are 11-0-1 when scoring 3 or more goals.

The Panthers will face the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow in Raleigh, North Carolina for the final game of their 4-game road trip. Stay tuned for a preview and recap of tomorrow’s game.

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