|@ Panthers (38-21-9)||1||1||2||1||5|
Both the Panthers and the Flyers had decent opportunities early on into the game but the Flyers had the chance to take the lead when Aleksander Barkov was penalized for hooking. Some Luongo saves prevented this from happening. Still, the Flyers were beginning to noticeably pull ahead. This was nothing Reilly Smith couldn’t solve, though. He scored a killer wrist shot after a Flyers turnover to put the Panthers in the lead. The goal was assisted by Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad. The Panthers were starting to look better but leave it to Nick Cousins to change all of that and leave the two teams tied at one. The Cats would get their first power play of the game shortly after because Radko Gudas was called for delay of game. Yet, the score still remained tied 1-1 at the end of the first. The Panthers held the edge in shots on goal 12-9. The Panthers had sparks of decent gameplay this season but in order to succeed, they will need to be more consistent.
The Panthers looked strong from the beginning in the second. They were getting better opportunities and Luongo wasn’t pressured as much. The Panthers went on a penalty kill about halfway through the period as a result of a Dmitry Kulikov slash, but the Flyers weren’t able to sustain any pressure. Garrett Wilson was called for a tripping penalty shortly after the Panthers killed off the first one and Ryan White scored on a net-front deflection thanks to a shot by Sam Gagner to make it 2-1. About 30 seconds later, Jaromir Jagr came up the left wing, protected the puck with his behind, faced away from the net, and found Jonathan Huberdeau for a one-timer to tie the game at 2. Dmitry Kulikov assisted the tally. Both teams settled down after that which led to a lot of back and forth play. The Panthers’ top line of Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr along with Aaron Ekblad were incredibly active in the 2nd period and saw a lot of ice time as a result of them creating a lot offensively. At the end of the period, both teams were tied at 2 and shots on goal were tied at 20. This was also a decent period for the Cats but they’ll need to be able to stand out and pull ahead to win.
The Flyers took an early lead after a point shot by Medvedev was deflected past Luongo by Michael Raffl’s stick in front of the net as he was falling down to the ice. The Panthers came back swinging but could not drive the puck home. They would have the chance to do this when Michael Raffl was called for slashing and alas, they did. Wrist shots were popular for the Panthers tonight and Aleksander Barkov used this move to tie the game. Nick Bjugstad and Jaromir Jagr assisted the goal. Just under a minute later, Reilly Smith struck again to put the Panthers in the lead. Jussi Jokinen and Jakub Kindl got the helpers. This was Kindl’s first point as a Panther. Evgeny Medvedev was called for interference shortly after the goal so the Panfhers had the chance to widen their lead. They could not do this, though, and the Panthers went right back on the penalty kill. This time, the call was for too many men on the ice. Some great defense, by Alex Petrovic especially, kept the Cats in the lead. The game was seeming like a lock for the Panthers but Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game with just under two minutes left. At the end of regulation time, the game was locked at 4 and overtime would be necessary.
The majority of overtime would be played 4-on-3 because Vincent Trocheck was called for interference. Luongo had to make some ridiculous saves but the Panthers went against all odds and killed off the penalty. The Cats generated some offense toward the end of the overtime period but neither team could score, yielding a shootout.
- Sam Gagner – no goal
- Nick Bjugstad – goal
- Nick Cousins – no goal
- Aleksander Barkov – goal
Reilly Smith is truly the king of turning things around. Just as the Flyers started to gain momentum, he scored to put the Cats in the lead. He also scored the team’s game-winner midway through the third. Jonathan Huberdeau continued to play strongly after returning from injury and he was able to score the team’s second goal. Aleksander Barkov scored the team’s magical third goal on the power play. Jaromir Jagr assisted both the Huberdeau goal and the Barkov goal.
The Panthers will head on the road on Monday, March 14th, to face the New York Islanders at 7:00 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.