The Panthers wouldn't take long to grab the lead. For the fourth game in a row, the Panthers scored on their first shot on goal just 1:20 into the contest. After Vincent Trocheck flipped the puck from the neutral zone off the backboards behind Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom, the giant Swede attempted to clear around, right to Reilly Smith. Smith hit Jussi Jokinen in stride for his eighth marker of the season. It was his first goal since December 17th against the New Jersey Devils in the second game of the streak, and his first point since Florida's win over the New York Rangers on January 2nd.
At 15:30, Brian Campbell was called for tripping Emerson Etem for the first look at five-on-four for either team. The Panthers easily killed it off, and looked to be headed to the break with a modest 1-0 lead, but that would change.
With 33 seconds left in the opening frame, Panther fans were treated (on TV for the most part) to yet another first line highlight reel goal. It went Barkov-to-Jagr-to-Barkov-to Huberdeau for a 2-0 lead. It was Huberdeau's seventh of the season, and the third straight game in which he has lit the lamp. It also represents the third straight game in which the Panthers have held a 2-0 lead. The three have now combined for 40 points during the 13-game point streak.
The Panthers were outshot 13-to-7 in the first period, but as we have gotten used to seeing day in and day out through the last month, favored quality over quantity. The Panthers dished out six hits to four for the Canucks, and won 11-of-19 faceoffs. led by four-of-five by Derek MacKenzie.
In the second period, Daniel Sedin (18), assisted by brother Henrik and Radim Vrbata, cut the lead in half on a nifty bit of puck possession to beat Roberto Luongo at the six-minute mark.
The Panthers and Canucks each generated eight shots-on-net against the opposing netminder through the period, as each team also matched the other with 18 Corsi attempts generated. Florida held a 9-to-7 edge in punishment dished out and had 14 faceoff wins to 10 for Vancouver. MacKenzie again dominated in the dot, winning all four of his chances.
Florida held the one goal lead until the 17:22 mark of the third period, when Jake Virtanen (2) racked one past Luongo off the faceoff to tie the game up at two. Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi assisted the goal. Aleksander Barkov won seven-of-nine faceoffs in the period.
The extra frame started out pretty evenly, with the two clubs trading off rushes until Jagr hooked Etem to prevent a clean shot on Luongo just two minutes into the three-on-three action. 14 seconds later, Daniel Sedin (19) scored his second marker of the night to send the Cats on to Calgary, assisted by his brother and Alexander Edler.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Until the final tally, the Panthers had yet to trail in 2016. One could argue that they have yet to play a single second of hockey while trailing, and have played 362:21 either tied or ahead.
Although Florida missed out on extending the win streak past the 12th-best in NHL history 12 that they had built, they still have an intact 13-game point streak.
Alex Petrovic led everyone with four hits on the night. He also led everyone with four blocked shots.
In the faceoff circle, MacKenzie ended up with a Hall of Fame level 11-of-14 wins. Barkov won 15-of-24, and Vincent Trocheck took nine-of-16.
Roberto Luongo stopped 27-of-30 shots for a pedestrian .900 save percentage on the night, and had his personal best nine-game win streak snapped. Panthers alum Markstrom stopped 26-of-28 for the win.
Florida will next faceoff against the Calgary Flames, late late late on Wednesday night. Hopefully our boys can start another long winning streak. For more on the Flames, go to my old stomping grounds at Matchsticks and Gasoline. Nucks Misconduct has the Canuck take on events.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)