Trocheck’s 2 goals lift Panthers over Devils in 4-3 OT win

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

The Panthers faced the Devils for the second time this season and once again, it ended in an overtime victory thanks to a 2-goal performance by Vincent Trocheck. 

After working on the power play in practice on Wednesday and Thursday following an 0-for-7 performance against Boston on Tuesday, the Panthers were able to convert on their first opportunity of the night. On a feed from Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad sent a one-timer past Cory Schneider to open the scoring and snap the scoreless streak on the man-advantage.

Denis Malgin recorded a point for the 3rd straight game when he scored his 2nd goal in as many games on the Panthers’ 2nd power play of the game.

“He shoots the puck and makes some real good plays, so we’re real happy with the way that kid’s playing,” said Gerard Gallant of Malgin’s play as of late.

Reilly Smith and Colton Sceviour won a puck battle along the wall, and sent it up to Demers at the point who faked a shot. Demers fed the puck to Malgin on the right side who had a wide open lane for a slap shot.

“It was real good,” said Gallant about the power play which went 2-for-3 tonight. “They had some good looks. Ekblad’s big shot was a huge goal for us. Like I said, it looked a lot better and it was moving the puck. That’s what we want from our power play.”

Early in the 3rd period, Vincent Trocheck scored his 5th goal of the season on a great assist by Jaromir Jagr to give the Panthers a 2-goal lead once again. However, the lead evaporated completely after P.A. Parenteau scored his 4th of the season and Pavel Zacha recorded his first career NHL goal to tie things up with under 4 minutes remaining.

In overtime, James Reimer, who finished with an impressive 31-save performance, came up huge with a save on a Taylor Hall breakaway, and that would pave the way for Vincent Trocheck to score the game-winner several minutes later after his own shot rebounded back at him during a 3-on-1. The win was the second straight of the year for Reimer who started in favor of Roberto Luongo.

“They gave me the lane and I took the shot,” Trocheck said. (Cory) Schneider’s a good goalie, he made the first save, and then the puck came back to me and I was able to put the rebound in.”

“It’s exciting. We definitely need to get back on the winning track, so tonight was a good start.”

Although this certainly wasn’t the Panthers’ best game of the season by any means, it was a big win for a team that needed something to be proud of after a string of frustrating losses where the puck just wasn’t finding the back of the net.

News broke on on Wednesday that Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen, who are both out with injuries, could be back as early as Monday’s home game against the Lightning. The Panthers lost 6 of their last 8 games before tonight and already have 2 overtime victories on the season after having just 1 all of last season.

“I didn’t think we played a great game, but we found a way,” said Gallant. “We found a way and we got four goals tonight, so that’s a good thing.”

The Panthers will head on the road briefly to face the Capitals on Saturday before returning home immediately after for 3 straight home games. The Capitals have won their last 4 games, including one in overtime on Thursday against the Jets. Backstrom and Oshie each scored while Ovechkin scored twice, including the game-winner, to help overcome 3 Winnipeg goals allowed in the 3rd by Brayden Holtby.

The two teams last met on October 20th when Mike Matheson and Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goals in a 4-2 loss at home.

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