|@ Panthers (36-21-9)||1||2||1||0||4|
Well, this period wasn’t off to a great start. On the first Bruins shot, Patrice Bergeron scored. This didn’t shake the Panthers, who still were able to get the puck on net. They had 7 shots on goal in the first five minutes but Luongo was clearly off his game tonight. He was absolutely sniped by David Pastrnak and the Bruins were up by two just seven minutes in. Gallant challenged the play, but the goal stood. With 10:10 left in the period, Jussi Jokinen was called for tripping and the Panthers had an even harder time. They killed the penalty with grace, though, and even got a few of their own shots in. This didn’t stop the Bruins. After the penalty was killed, Luongo let another one in. Landon Ferraro was the goal scorer. The Panthers needed a goal in the first if they even wanted a chance of winning the game and they did just that. Aleksander Barkov scored a wrister through traffic, assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau. The goal was challenged but still stood, which was good karma for the Cats. Things seemed to be turning around for the Cats but Patrice Bergeron killed this sense of calmness by scoring yet again. At the end of the period, the Bruins led 4-1 but the Panthers tied them in shots on goal 16-15. This was one of the few circumstances in which the Panthers actually played well offensively and defensively this period but Luongo was just not having a good night. Clearly, it is time for Montoya to step in. The Panthers can still win this game.
After Adam McQuaid interfered with Logan Shaw, Shawn Thornton fought him and fought him hard, clearly winning the battle. The penalties cancelled out because Thornton instigated the fight. Trocheck nearly scored after the Panthers were robbed of the power play, but the play was ruled inconclusive. The Panthers still kept their drive and Jiri Hudler scored at his home debut. Jonathan Huberdeau and Erik Gudbranson assisted the goal. The Panthers got their first power play of the game when the Bruins had too many men on the ice and the Cats took full advantage of this opportunity. Jussi Jokinen scored just seconds into the advantage to make this a one goal game. Reilly Smith and Vincent Trocheck assisted the goal. The Panthers would have the chance to tie it when Brett Connolly was penalized for high sticking. Sadly, they could not do this, but they were still looking great this period. Jonathan Huberdeau was hit by Zdeno Chara and then all hell broke loose. He got into a heated fight with Chara and everyone jumped into separate fights. Chara got a little confused and even started fighting the ref. Although everyone on the ice got involved, Huberdeau and Chara were the only ones penalized for roughing. Those penalties were killed but the Panthers ended the period on a power play that would carry over into the third. Erik Gudbranson bled from a David Krejci high stick so there was a double minor. At the end of the period, the Bruins led 4-3 but the Panthers continued to lead in shots on goal 34-21. The Panthers played just as well this period as they did in the last, but they had much more luck and it did them wonders. The Bruins were also very careless, which the Cats cannot count on in the third. The Panthers must play like this in the third to beat this rough-playing Bruins team.
Even though the Krejci penalty was killed, the Panthers were pushing Rask hard early in the third. Shawn Thornton just could not stay out of the penalty box and was penalized for interference. The penalty was thankfully killed and even strength play continued. The Panthers were playing extremely well in the second and third periods but the score did not reflect that. Toward the midway point of the period, the play shifted from offensive to defensive and physical and the Panthers weren’t getting many shots on goal, which was worrisome. Fear not, Panthers fans. Jiri Hudler came to save the day. His second goal of the game was assisted by Alex Petrovic and Nick Bjugstad. The Panthers nearly won this game after their post-goal momentum but could not get a puck past Rask. The game was tied at 4 at the end of regulation time and overtime would be necessary.
This overtime period was action-packed from the start. Brian Campbell had a particularly great opportunity on a skillful spin move. The Panthers reached 50 shots on goal in this overtime period, but they still could not beat the wrath of the Bruins. Lee Stempniak scored to finish the game off.
Aleksander Barkov achieved his first 20 goal season by scoring the Panthers’ first goal of the night. Jaromir Jagr’s assist on that goal gave him sole possession of third all time in points scored. Jiri Hudler scored his first goal as a Panther to put the Panthers within two. Jonathan Huberdeau assisted both the Barkov goal and the Hudler goal on his first game back from injury. Jussi Jokinen scored the ever-so-coveted third goal to shut the Bruins fans up.
The Panthers will be at home on Thursday, March 10th, to take on the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.