The Florida Panthers earned a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings early Sunday night at the Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit. Colton Sceviour scored his first career hat trick, including two goals in 23 seconds of the first period, and James Reimer stopped 34-of-36 shots in Florida’s win.
Derek MacKenzie got things started at the 5:57 mark of the first period. He appeared to get his bell rattled near Petr Mrazek’s crease, then slowly skated back to the bench. Just before arriving there, he saw an opportunity to rush the goaltender, and got hooked by Detroit’s Alexey Marchenko.
On the ensuing power play, Colton Sceviour scored his third marker of the season just 12 seconds after it got started by being in the right place at the right time. He parked just outside the goalmouth and smacked home a perfect feed from Vincent Trocheck (1) on his left side. Jason Demers earned the secondary assist on the play, his second of the season.
Keith Yandle (3) and Reilly Smith (2) earned assists just 23 seconds later on Sceviour’s second marker of the period. The Cats were crashing Mrazek’s crease again, at even strength this time. Sceviour got the puck tangled in his skates, while draped with three Red Wings right in front of the blue ice, kicked it to his stick, and slid it past the netminder’s glove for a quick 2-0 Panthers lead.
Jonathan Marchessault, who already led the Panthers with five goals, five assists, and 10 total points (and also ranked third in scoring in the NHL coming into the day’s action), made the score 3-0 with 2:31 remaining in the opening frame. Denis Malgin earned his second assist on the play, while Kyle Rau notched his first NHL point with the other helper. Rau hit Malgin on the right wing, streaking down the ice with Marchessault driving up the center, waited until the last possible second, and fed March with the perfect cross-ice feed to beat Mrazek for the third time.
The uber-talented Dylan Larkin prevented the Cats from notching a shutout with a power play goal at the 2:36 mark of the second period with assists from Brendan Smith (1) and Frans Nielsen (3). The marker, on a one-timer from the right point on a feed from center-ice from Smith, was Larkin’s third of the season and his fifth in six career games against the Panthers. He doesn’t have more than two against any other team.
The Cats reestablished their three goal cushion two and a half minutes later with Vincent Trocheck’s fourth goal of the campaign. Alex Petrovic (3) earned a helper on the play, as did Sceviour (2), with his first career three point game. But Sceviour still wasn’t quite done. Petr Mrazek, however, was. He was pulled in favor of regular starter Jimmy Howard after giving up his fourth goal.
With 16:25 elapsed in the middle period, Sceviour completed the hat trick on a short-handed rush with MacKenzie. Sceviour skated up the left side of the ice on a two-on-one breakaway with MacKenzie on his right. After bouncing the puck off Brendan Smith’s skate, he flipped the rebound over a prone Howard for a 5-1 Panthers lead. Demers earned his second assist of the game on the play, and his third this season.
Brendan Smith drew the Red Wings back within three goals at the midway point of the final period with a power play goal, on a one-timer feed from Frans Nielsen (4), who had skated around Jonathan Reimer’s backside. It was Smith’s first goal of the season. Riley Sheahan (2) also was awarded an assist on the play.
- After starting off the season hot, Florida’s penalty kill has seemed decidedly average the last few games, and today’s game was no exception. Although they scored their second shorthanded goal of the season, they also gave up two goals on five Detroit power plays. They’re 18-for-24 on the season so far, or 75.0%.
- Florida’s power play, just four-for-29 coming in, went one-for-four for the day, raising their success rate to 14.5%.
- It’s too bad the Red Wings are moving on from the Joe after this season. The Panthers have won six of their last seven contests there against the perennial playoff club from Hockeytown.
- James Reimer became the 24th Florida goaltender to earn a win while with the team. He’s currently tied for 23rd on Florida’s career wins list with Panthers’ legend Richard Shulmistra.
- Aleksander Barkov, who recently turned 21-years-old, played in his 200th career NHL game.
- Trocheck’s 41st career NHL goal moves him into a tie with Sean Bergenheim in 33rd on Florida’s all-time list.
- Sceviour’s three-goal outing was the first for the Panthers since Tomas Kopecky turned the trick on February 26th, 2013 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida won that game, 6-4.
- Speaking of the hat trick, Sceviour scored on the power play, at even strength, and shorthanded. It’s the second time that a Panther has notched a hat trick in such a fashion in their history. Nathan Horton accomplished the feat in a 7-1 win over the New York Islanders on December 14th, 2009.
Next up for the Panthers, a Tuesday night home matchup with the Boston Bruins at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. Join us here in the GameThread, and keep checking back with LBC for breaking developments in all things Panther related.