|@ Panthers (43-27-9)||0||1||2||3|
In the first minute of play, the Panthers got their first shot on goal but also their first penalty. Brian Campbell was penalized for interference and the Devils would get a quick power play. Not only were the Panthers able to kill the penalty, but they were even able to get a scoring opportunity of their own. Then, it was the Panthers’ turn for a power play. Adam Larsson was called for hooking and the Cats raced to the offensive zone. The power play would be extended when Stephen Gionta was sent to the box on a hooking call. The Panthers passed a lot but one thing they could not do was shoot, so both penalties were killed. Jiri Hudler held the stick and put the Panthers back on the penalty kill.
In a game of penalties, one would have to result in a power play goal. Unfortunately, the Devils’ Mike Sislo stepped up to the plate and did this, putting the Panthers behind early. Neither team was really shooting the puck, both with only 3 shots on goal each at the 13 minute mark. The second half of the period was fairly eventless. The penalties died down for the most part and the shots on goal were few and far between. The Panthers would get one final power play that would last until the end of the period because Damon Severson was called for high sticking. The Panthers could not crack Kinkaid, though, and at the end of the period, the Devils led 1-0. The Panthers led in shots on goal 13-6. This period was not the Panthers’ finest, to say the least. They did not shoot enough (especially in the beginning of the period) and they were also lacking a bit in defense. The Cats will need to make a big change if they want the fans to be able to throw their rats on the ice at the end of this game.
The Panthers and the Devils both came out strong defensively but not offensively. There was a lot of work along the boards but not many shots on goal. Jonathan Huberdeau changed all of this, though, with a hard-fought goal. The goal was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Aaron Ekblad. This goal was followed by a Devils delay of game penalty, which was promptly killed. Now, the game was as it should have been. The Panthers were beginning to dominate in shots on goal and all they had to do was take the lead. This would have to wait until next period, though, because both teams were tied at one at the end of two. The Panthers still held a sizable lead in shots on goal 29-10. This was a much better period for the Panthers, but it is imperative that they find correct lanes to shoot in because there have been far too many instances in this game where the Panthers made it down to the offensive zone but only passed the puck rather than shooting.
A Dmitry Kulikov slashing penalty marked the beginning of the third period. The penalty went as easy as it came, bringing the game back to even strength. The game wouldn’t be monotone for long, though. Jonathan Huberdeau scored and had a celly so great that he fell down and had to be helped up by fellow teammate Jaromir Jagr. In addition to assisting Huberdeau after his celly, Jaromir Jagr assisted the goal istelf, with Brian Campbell getting the secondary assist. The flaw of giving out rats to attendees of tonight’s game was that the Devils got ahold of them. The rats were thrown on the ice, likely by Devils fans, and the Panthers were awarded a delay of game penalty. The Devils would get a little bit of 5-on-3 time after Steven Kampfer was sent to the sin bin on a tripping call. The Big Cubano came up, well, big and allowed the Panthers to kill both penalties. The Devils kept up with the Cats for a few minutes, but the Panthers still held the lead. This continued on into the final minutes of the game, where the Devils started to get a bit desperate. This didn’t work out in their favor, though. Aleksander Barkov tipped in a Jagr shot off of of a rebound. Then, once again, the Panthers got a delay of game penalty. That’s the price you pay for advertisement. The Devils pulled their goalie, making the game 6-on-4. The Devils took one last stand to win when Blake Pietila scored with five seconds left. This didn’t help them much because the Panthers still won 3-2.
Jonathan Huberdeau put the Panthers on the board with a great goal and an equally great celly. Then, his reign of skill continued, as did his celebration tactics, with a goal early in the third to put the Panthers in the lead. Aleksander Barkov scored the Panthers’ magical third goal late in the third to secure the win. Jaromir Jagr assisted both the Barkov goal and the second Huberdeau goal. Al Montoya also played extremely well tonight and was a huge factor in the Panthers’ success.
The Panthers will finish off their home stand on Saturday, April 2nd, against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:00 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.