The struggling Florida Panthers defeated the Calgary Flames by a 4-3 count to snap a five-game (0-3-2) slide. The win, although somewhat on the sloppy side, enabled the Cats to get off to a good start on a stretch that sees the team at home for seven of eight games.
After a early tussle between Derek MacKenzie and Josh Jooris, who boarded Aaron Ekblad earlier, Vincent Trocheck opened the scoring at 5:16 of the first with Calgary defenseman Kris Russell serving an interference minor. Trocheck pounced on a rebound of a Jussi Jokinen shot after Karri Ramo made a pad save on the veteran Finn, but could not find the puck. Brian Campbell picked up the second assist on Trocheck's sixth of the season.
The Flames evened the game a scant 1:57 later. Campbell and Jonathan Huberdeau collided at center ice, opening up a lane for Joe Colborne, who moved in on the Florida goal before dropping the puck off a skate back to a waitingDavid Jones. Jones pumped the puck past Roberto Luongo for his fourth goal.
Later in the period, Trocheck won an offensive zone draw back to Alex Petrovic, who let go off a shot from the point. Jokinen knocked the puck down in front and Reilly Smith was there to rap it past a fallen Ramo to give the Panthers the lead back.
Florida added to its advantage early in the second period after applying some good pressure in the Calgary end. After a Ramo stop, Nick Bjugstad flung the puck down low to Huberdeau. The goalless winger found Jaromir Jagr on the side boards and he sent the biscuit cross-ice to a streaking Ekblad, who promptly turned on the red light for the second time in 2015-16.
Calgary quickly cut into the Panthers lead, with Jones finding fame and glory for a second time just 1:42 after Ekblad's goal. Matt Stajan sent Jones in alone on Luongo with a bullet pass and the 31-year-old ripped one off the Cats keeper and into the net. Deryk Engelland collected the secondary helper for starting the play off.
Jones would draw a tripping penalty on Huberdeau late in the middle frame to give the Flames their only power-play opportunity of the game and it paid off. Sean Monahan bagged the tying goal, with the assists going to Jiri Hudler andT.J. Brodie. Hudler deflected Brodie's point shot while standing in front to create the juicy rebound for Monahan.
The tie would last until the 8:11 mark of the third period, when Jagr came up with the eventual game-winner. Bjugstad forced Brodie into a turnover behind the net and Jagr collected the puck in the slot and maneuvered away from a pair of Flames before sending it just inside the far post. It looked like the 43-year-old was attempting to pass the puck to Huberdeau on the doorstep, but instead the ageless wonder ended up with his seventh goal of the campaign and second point of the night. Typical Jagr...
A strange sequence with about six and half minutes remaining in regulation saw the Panthers come close to adding a clincher and Calgary tying the game. Trocheck started celebrating after he deflected a shot past Ramo and off the post. The puck didn't cross the goal line and play continued back the other way, where Erik Gudbranson made a diving knock-away to deny Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway. The Flames regained possession and Luongo came up with a big glove on a Russell blast.
Luongo, who finished with 25 saves, and his mates were able to close the door the rest of the way and sew up the Panthers first victory of the month of November.
Fire & Brimstone
- The Panthers are now a perfect 6-0 when scoring more than two goals this season.
- Jonathan Huberdeau was very involved in this one, in both good and bad ways. Hubs registered his seventh assist, provided Jagr with a target on the winning goal, and did everything he could to end his scoring drought, finishing with five shots on goal. On the flip side, the collision with Campbell led to the first Calgary goal and his trip of Jones set the stage for the Flames third tally.
- In addition to coming up with his second goal, Aaron Ekblad matched Huberdeau as the team leader in shots last night with five. Eggs also logged a hit and a block in his 19:16 TOI.
- Jussi Jokinen's two helpers tied him with Huberdeau (that name keeps coming up) for the club lead in assists at seven. Jokinen almost had a third on Trocheck's close call in the third.
- Dave Bolland returned after a two-game absence and finished with three shots and two hits, but won just one of seven face-offs.
- Karri Ramo made 27 stops for the Flames and saw his record drop to 3-5.
- war-on-ice has the advanced stats breakdown of the game for you right here.
- Stop by Matchsticks and Gasoline where you can throw a little more fuel on the fire this morning.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)