Recap: Canadiens @ Panthers, 4/2/16

Final 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Canadiens (36-37-6) 1 2 0 3
@ Panthers (44-27-9)  0  2 2 4

First Period

Similarly to in the last game, tonight’s game started off with a penalty. This one was on Jagr for hooking and it came 34 seconds into the game. The Panthers were able to slide the puck out of their defensive zone enough to kill the penalty, but the Canadiens were still looking fairly dominant early on. Granted, the Habs did not have that many shots on goal but a few is still better than none. The Panthers couldn’t even get a shot on goal until nine minutes into the game. Then, it happened. The Canadiens scored. This wasn’t unexpected with the performance the Panthers had given thus far. Brendan Gallagher was the goal scorer and the Panthers were down by one. The Cats were just not doing well. The Habs walked all over the Lightning in their last game and the same was seeming likely to happen tonight. This notion was further confirmed  with an Andrei Markov goal. The goal was overturned after a coaches challenge because the play was offsides but at this point, the Panthers were in just as bad of shape as they had been before the challenge. At the end of the period, the Canadiens led 1-0 and also led in shots on goal 10-6. This was an abysmal period for the Cats. They put little to no pressure on Mike Condon and they gave the Canadiens too many opportunities to score. The Panthers can still win this game, but they’ll really need to up their offense.

Second Period

Instead of starting this period off with a penalty, the Panthers got their first power play of the game. Alexei Emelin was called for delay of game and it was time for the Panthers to put on the pressure. They had better opportunities than they’ve had so far in this whole game but they still could not score. The Panthers didn’t really start putting pressure on Condon until eight minutes into the second. At this point in the game, the Cats generated some offense and actually started looking like a team that could come back and win. However, this feeling was short-lived, as David Desharnais was able to put the Habs up by two. Just minutes later, Torrey Mitchell made it 3-0. The Panthers actually started to wake up and then this happened, halting everything. Thankfully, the Panthers didn’t let these goals ruin their spirit in the grand scheme of things. Jaromir Jagr was able to tuck in a goal, assisted by Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. To end off this period, Aleksander Barkov scored off of a rebound and the Panthers were back within one. Aaron Ekblad assisted the goal. At the end of the period, the Panthers were still trailing 3-2 but they led in shots on goal 22-19. The Panthers actually looked a lot better this period, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the score. They still have a long way to go if they want to win this game and the Canadiens still hold a pretty big lead. Hopefully, the Cats can develop their offensive stints a bit more in the third.

Third Period

Neither the Canadiens nor the Panthers were performing particularly well early into the final frame. The defense was looking strong and there was a lot of play along the boards but not much in front of the net. The game seemed tied, but the undeniable fact was that the Panthers were still down by a goal and doing nothing about it. Their first real chance to tie the game up came when Tomas Plekanec was called for tripping and guess what? They did it! Jonathan Huberdeau rebounded a Bjugstad wide-angle shot to tie the game up. Aleksander Barkov got the  secondary assist. Both teams were able to remain defensive until the end of the game, so overtime seemed imminent. However, Barkov was having none of that. With 26 seconds left in the game, he scored to put the Panthers in the lead. Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell assisted the goal. The Panthers won this one 4-3.

Who’s Hot?

Jaromir Jagr is really playing well for his Travelling Jagr friends. His goal tonight put the Panthers on the board. Aleksander Barkov scored a goal with less than a minute left in the period to instill some hope into the Cats. He scored the game winner too because he’s kinda good. He also scored the game winner because he’s kinda good. In addition to assisting the Jagr tally, Jonathan Huberdeau scored to tie the game up. Each member of that line had their chance to shine tonight. Aaron Ekblad also played well tonight, assisting both Barkov goals.

Next Game

The Panthers will head to Toronto on Monday, April 4th, to face the Maple Leafs at 7:30 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.

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