Last night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL, the Florida Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-4 in the shootout.
Reilly Smith lit the lamp for the 22nd time this season 10:22 into the first period to open the scoring after stealing the puck from the Flyers in Florida's zone, then skating the length of the ice to wrist it past Steve Mason's glove side for a 1-0 lead. Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad were awarded the helpers on the play.
Just over four minutes later, Nick Cousins (5) took a cross-ice pass from Simon Gagne to beat Roberto Luongo low on the glove side to knot the game at one goal a piece.
Nick Bjugstad won six-of-seven faceoffs through the frame, while Aleksander Barkov actually lost all six of his chances in the dot. Derek MacKenzie led the Panthers with two hits, tying Wayne Simmonds.
Ryan White (8) staked the Flyers to a 2-1 lead on the power play at the 6:44 mark of the second, redirecting an already redirected shot by Luongo. It was a Matt Read shot from the right point, first redirected by Sam Gagner before White chopped it past Luongo's stick-side.
Philadelphia's lead wouldn't last long, just 18 seconds, in fact. Jaromir Jagr skated the puck into the left side of the Flyers' zone despite literally wearing Nick Schultz like a bad coat, then dishing to Jonathan Huberdeau. The fourth-year player wired a one-timer high over Mason's stick side to tie the contest at two goals apiece with his 13th marker of the season. Dmitry Kulikov also earned an assist on the play.
Ekblad and Jakub Kindl each got two hits through the period, while Nick Bjugstad won all three of his faceoff chances. Brian Campbell blocked two shots for the Panthers.
Philadelphia regained their lead at the 1:28 mark of the third period when Michael Raffl scored his 10th of the season on an Evgeny Medvedev redirection of a shot from the left point.
Barkov provided the equalizer for the Panthers on the power play at the 8:24 mark, using Mason's own anticipation against him. Bjugstad found Barkov through traffic, then Barkov just held the puck for about 0.8 seconds longer than anyone expected. The hesitation foiled Radko Gudas' shot block attempt, and gave the Panthers new life with half of the period remaining. The goal, Barkov's 21st of the campaign was also assisted by Jagr, his second of the night.
Smith scored his 23rd of the season (and second of the game) just over a minute later, working a pretty give-and-go with Jussi Jokinen. Kindl also earned an assist on the play, his fifth of the season and his first point in five games since joining the Panthers. Jokinen now leads the team with 37 helpers.
Hometown boy Shayne Gostisbehere scored his 15th marker of the season with less than two minutes left in regulation to tie the game up at four. It was a simple wrist shot through traffic from the right point which fooled Luongo and forced the extra frame, with assists to Sean Couturier and Raffl.
Vincent Trocheck was nearly automatic in the faceoff circle in the third period, winning eight-of-nine chances.
Overtime was nervewracking for the Panthers, to make an understatement. Trocheck was called for interference just over a minute into the three-on-three action, and left the Panthers to kill a two-minute minor at four-on-three. Florida's track record while skating four-on-three isn't very good, but Luongo was equal to the task of keeping the Cats in it.
The shootout would see Luongo easily stop the Flyers' tandem of Gagner and Cousins, while Bjustad and Barkov were (as always, it seems) automatic.
Dishes and Fishes
The two clubs were nearly a lock overall in the faceoff circle, with the Panthers winning 41 to 40 for the Flyers. Bjugstad won 11-of-13 to lead the team. Sean Couturier took 13-of-20 to lead the Flyers.
DMacK and Kindl led the Panthers with three hits apiece, while Philly was paced by four each from Simmonds and Chris Vandevelde.
Florida attempted just a dozen shots in the first period, but got all of them on goal. Philadelphia was nine-for-17 in this (madeup) category.
In winning their 38th contest of the season, the 2015-16 Florida Panthers got to 85 points three games faster than any other team in the history of the franchise.
Check here for the advanced stats over at War on Ice.
NHL.COM's Gamecenter has the "official" recap page, but hockey-reference.com has better and more in-depth statistics.