|@ Panthers (22-12-4)||1||2||0||3|
The first period started off with a fairly lengthy fight between Tanner Glass and Shawn Thornton. Both teams looked great defensively early on and did not allow for many shots on goal. The Panthers got the first power play of the game when Keith Yandle was sent off for hooking. The Cats had a few shots during their advantage, one of which hit the post, but they were still not able to score. The Panthers had another chance to score when Dan Boyle was penalized for interference. However, the penalty didn’t last long because Jaromir Jagr was called for holding about halfway through. In the end, both penalties were killed.
With less than a minute left in the period, Logan Shaw scored a goal, assisted by Corban Knight. The Panthers led 1-0 but the Rangers held the advantage in shots on goal 9-7 at the end of the frame. This period was a physical and defensive one for both teams. A lot of work was being done along the boards and not as much was done in front of the nets. Physical play is great but the Panthers need to shoot the puck more and generally get the puck in front of the net more in order to have a chance to win.
At just 18 seconds into the second frame, Jaromir Jagr was sent off for roughing. Some Luongo glove saves allowed the Panthers to kill the penalty. Then, the Panthers widened their lead on a Vincent Trocheck goal. Alex Petrovic made the goal possible and Brian Campbell got the secondary assist. With 9:16 left in the period, Emerson Etem was sent to the penalty box on a hooking call and the Panthers went back on the power play.
Brandon Pirri did his thing and scored a wrister to give the Panthers their magical third goal. The goal was assisted by Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen. Reilly Smith was penalized for holding in a penalty that would carry over into the third but the Panthers still led 3-0 at the end of the period, despite trailing 24-12 in shots on goal. The Panthers played a much better game this period. They didn’t shoot as often as the Rangers did but they made the shots they were able to take count. There is still room for a Rangers comeback, but it’s not likely if the Panthers play their final frame like they did this one.
The Panthers started off the final period similarly to how they started the first two but this time, they had more of the crowd behind them. There was some rough play behind Luongo’s net after Chris Kreider cross-checked Willie Mitchell. He and Brandon Pirri got two minutes each for roughing, but Kreider got the extra penalty on the cross-check. The penalty was killed and then it was the Panthers’ turn for a penalty. This time it was Willie Mitchell for cross-checking. This penalty was killed as well. A turnover that nearly yielded a Rangers goal led Alex Petrovic to step up and defend Roberto Luongo. Petrovic was penalized for roughing as a result. The Rangers certainly put the pressure on Luongo but the penalty was killed nonetheless. At the end of the game, the Panthers were able to win their first against the Rangers since 2013.
Logan Shaw started off the scoring tonight on a beautiful goal. Vincent Trocheck is now tied with Aleksander Barkov, Jaromir Jagr, and Reilly Smith for first in goals after his goal tonight. Brandon Pirri also completed one of his famous wrist shots on the power play to give the Cats a three goal lead. Alex Petrovic is a player who really put everything on the line for his team today. He kept the puck out of the Panthers’ net and protected his teammates at all costs. Then of course, the real star of the game was Roberto Luongo, who shut out the Rangers.
The Florida Panthers will be finishing off their home stand tomorrow night, January 3rd, against the Minnesota Wild at 6:00 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.