Panthers drop third straight game with 2-1 loss to Canucks

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

With Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo, it’s usually the Panthers witnessing players of their own reach career milestones. Tonight, it was the other way around as Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin tallied his 1000th career point with the franchise en route to a 2-1 Canucks victory on Friday. 

The Panthers fell to 0-2-1 after the third matchup of their 4-game road trip with the loss which was dominated by the goaltending on both sides. Ryan Miller stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced while Roberto Luongo made 30 saves on 32 shots with several of them being on grade-A chances.

Jagr scored his 9th goal of the season on the power play to open the scoring in the 1st period, but the Canucks scored 2:05 later on a 2-on-1 break which ended in Sedin sneaking the puck 5-hole on Luongo, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Sedin entered the night with 999 career NHL points in the bank – all of which have come with Vancouver – and nearly scored earlier in the game but was robbed point-blank from the low slot.

Luongo, his teammate for 8 years before returning to Florida, left his crease to congratulate Sedin with a stick tap and was given a pat on the helmet back. The 37-year old goaltender remains in search of his 450th career win.

After a scoreless 2nd period, the Canucks took a 2-1 just 3:07 into the 3rd after a net-front scrum forced a rebound out for a wrist shot by Luca Sbisa from between the face-off circles. Twenty-one of the Panthers’ 35 shots came in the 2nd period while they were outshot 11-6 in the 1st and 12-8 in the 3rd.

Florida has now split the season series with the Canucks after a 4-2 win at home in November.

There were stretches of play, especially early on, where the Panthers’ forwards were doing a good job of covering defensively and supporting the defensemen in the defensive zone, but they did allow a handful of odd-man breaks, one of which led to a goal against.

The Canucks lost 4 of their last 5 games entering Friday night, however the Panthers struggled to get many high-quality chances, particularly late as it was tough sledding through the neutral zone. The lone goal for the Panthers came on their 3 power play chances while the Canucks didn’t manage anything on their one opportunity with the man-advantage.

The Panthers’ 4-game road trip will wrap up on Monday when they face the Arizona Coyotes for the first time this season. Jakob Chychrun, who learned to play hockey in south Florida with the Jr. Panthers and was drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 Draft, will play against his childhood team for the first time in his career.

Lawson Crouse will also meet the Panthers for the first time since being selected by Florida 11th overall at the 2015 Draft before being traded with Dave Bolland to Arizona during the off-season.

Arizona has lost 7 of its last 9 games including each of their last 4.

Post-game notes: F Seth Griffith was claimed off waivers from the Panthers by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday afternoon. … D Dylan McIlrath was a healthy scratch as D Jakub Kindl drew back into the lineup. G James Reimer, who is back in south Florida with his pregnant wife, was also a healthy scratch. … The Panthers are now up to 149 man-games lost to injury. … F Vincent Trocheck’s 6-game point streak and 4-game goal streak both came to an end as he went without a point for the first time since January 7th against the Bruins. He led the Panthers in ice-time by logging 23:43. … F Jared McCann recorded his 3rd assist in the past 3 games when he set up Jaromir Jagr’s 1st period goal. All 3 assists have been primary markers.

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