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Panthers strike another sour note in 6-3 loss to Blues

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Cats’ losing streak hits a season-high six

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers continued to limp to the finish line of the 2016-17 regular season, dropping a 6-3 decision to the red-hot St. Louis Blues.

Since shutting out Chicago for their last win, the Cats have surrendered an astounding 28 goals during what is now a six-game losing streak.

Ryan Reaves opened the scoring 12:16 into the first period, with the lone assist going to former Panther Scottie Upshall. Reaves broke in on James Reimer after Upshall forced a turnover and went five-hole for his sixth.

Florida evened the game at 6:41 of the second when Jaromir Jagr sent Vincent Trocheck and Joanthan Huberdeau away on a 2-on-1 break. Trocheck elected to shoot, and beat Jake Allen low stick-side for his first goal since February 28. Ian McCoshen, making his big-league debut, drew the second helper for his first NHL point.

The Blues regained the lead 56 seconds later when sniper Vladimir Tarasenko’s long shot caught the cross bar and went in off of Reimer’s back. Jaden Schwartz and Ivan Barbashev picked up the assists on Tarasenko’s team-leading 38th goal.

Michael Matheson tied things up 55 seconds into the final frame. After taking a pass in his own end from Huberdeau, Matheson sped down the ice slipped a wraparound shot by Allen. Alex Petrovic collected the second assist on the rookie defenseman’s seventh goal.

David Perron put the Blues back on top with a highlight reel goal at the 5:36 mark. Perron took control of the puck after Colton Parayko lost it and dangled his way across the goalmouth before popping a shot past a down-and-out Reimer.

The Panthers fought back for a third time on Denis Malgin’s goal that came 2:09 after the Perron tally. After taking a feed from Jason Demers, Colton Sceviour’s pretty backhand pass from the corner found Malgin, who unleashed a one-timer from the top of the right circle.

St. Louis went ahead for good at 10:37 when Patrick Berglund deflected a shot from Jordan Schmaltz by Reimer with the Blues on a power play. Perron picked up the secondary assist for his second point of the night.

The Blues notched another power-play goal 3:12 later when Alex Pietrangelo, who was camped in front, tipped in a nice pass from Schwartz for the clincher. Jori Lehtera also picked up a helper on the play.

Schwartz completed the scoring, and his three-point night, with an empty-netter with 59 seconds left in the tilt. Assists on the goal went to Pietrangelo and Tarasenko.

The Panthers will play their final home game against Buffalo on Saturday night before wrapping up the season a day later in Washington versus the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals.

Sharps & Flats

  • The win upped the Blues record to 13-2-2 over their last seventeen games. St. Louis moved into third place in the Central Division, one point ahead of Nashville.
  • Rookie Denis Malgin potted his fifth goal, and first since November 15. Malgin was one of two Panthers, Colton Sceviour was the other, to finish the game with a +2 rating.
  • Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s game-winning goal was the 300th point of his NHL career.
  • James Reimer saw action for the first time since he was injured in the March 28th game against Toronto. Not the best of nights for Reimer who stopped 32 of 37 shots.
  • Reimer’s counterpart Jake Allen finished with 29 saves to post his 32nd victory of the season.
  • In addition to picking up an assist in his NHL debut, Ian McCoshen blocked a shot and dished out a hit in 13:47 TOI.
  • St. Louis Game Time has the other side of the Blues win, which split the season series.