The Florida Panthers clawed their way back to .500 with a roller coaster 4-3 overtime win over the visiting New Jersey Devils. It was the second time on the young season the Cats have defeated the Devils at the BB&T Center in the extra session.
Florida opened the scoring 12:58 into the first period with a much-needed power=play goal. Aaron Ekblad did the honors, blasting a one-timer top shelf by Cory Schneider after Keith Yandle teed him up. Jonathan Marchessault collected his team-leading 12th point with the secondary assist.
In the early portion of the second period, a high-sticking minor on Pavel Zacha put the Panthers back on the power play, resulting in a second goal. Colton Sceviour worked the puck free on the boards back to Jason Demers. Demers went cross-ice to Denis Malgin, who skated into the right circle before unleashing a slap shot that eluded Schneider.
The Devils would reply with a power-play tally of their own later in the frame. Travis Zajac got the goal at 18:04, putting the puck past James Reimer after Alex Petrovic blocked a shot from Kyle Palmieri. Damon Severson also picked up a helper on the play.
Vincent Trocheck restored Florida’s two-goal lead 4:29 into the third period with his first of the night. Jaromir Jagr came off the bench to receive a pass from Mark Pysyk before deftly setting up Trocheck in the slot for an easy put away.
New Jersey served immediate notice the Panthers would not have an easy time walking away with two points when P.A. Parenteau slid a nice pass from defenseman John Moore, who was behind the net, by Reimer just twenty seconds after Trocheck’s goal. Moore smartly moved down from the point to collect the puck after a drive from Nick Lappin went wide.
The Devils tied the game with 3:55 left in regulation when Zacha bagged his first NHL goal. Zacha beat Reimer after taking a nice centering pass from Beau Bennett after the speedy forward skated his way past Yandle. Severson drew the secondary assist for his second point of the game.
In the first minute of the overtime session, Reimer came up with a huge stop on Taylor Hall’s breakaway to keep his club in it. The save was the last of the 31 the Cats keeper made during the tilt.
The Panthers captured the bonus point with 43.4 seconds left before the game went to a shootout. Reilly Smith broke up a play in his own end to start a 3-on-1 break with Trocheck and Ekblad. Smith quickly passed across to Trocheck, who carried into the New Jersey zone and eventually stuffed in his own rebound after Schneider denied his first shot with a leg pad. The goal was Trocheck’s sixth of the season and first game-winner.
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Panthers found a way to get the full two points on home ice after blowing a pair of two-goal leads, so that’s a positive. Although blown leads is something we are starting to get too accustomed to early in the 2016-17 campaign. Seeing the power play click after the awful performance against the Bruins was another welcome sight for sore eyes. The Cats will look to build on the positive momentum when the visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Fire & Brimstone
- With their second win in overtime, the Panthers have already eclipsed their total of wins in the extra session (1) from last season.
- In addition to his two goals, Vincent Trocheck had a game-high six shots on goal and went 17 of 26 on face-offs. Powerful stuff, Vinnie.
- After failing to register a shot against Boston, Aleksander Barkov fired four on Cory Schneider, but failed to ended his scoring slump, which now stands at seven games.
- Speaking of Schneider, the Devils netminder finished with 27 stops, including a huge one on Jared McCann with his team trailing 3-2 late in the third period.
- Swiss rookie Denis Malgin now has goals in back-to-back games and has built a three-game point streak.
- Jaromir Jagr skated in his 1,640 NHL regular season. He is now alone in sixth place all-time and will soon pass Chris Chelios (1,651) and Mark Recchi (1,652).
- The folks at All About The Jersey have the dark side of this one covered.