If the Blues are fragile team, I’m not quite sure what that makes the Cats, but whatever it is, it isn’t good,
Florida carried a 1-0 lead into the third period, thanks to Evgenii Dadonov’s 14th goal at the 15:29 mark of the opening frame. After some pressure from Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau collected a turnover and spotted an open Dadonov down low for the score.
St. Louis thought they scored first in the game when Roberto Bortuzzo’s dump-in deflected off referee Tim Peel and into the net, but the goal was disallowed thanks to NHL Rule 85.4.
Fast forward to the early stages of the third period, with the Cats up a goal and on a power play, when defensemen Keith Yandle and Mike Matheson conspire to aid and abet a Blues comeback.
With time on the power play expiring, Yandle made an absolutely awful decision trying to slide the puck across to Mike Hoffman, instead of putting the puck on net.
Oskar Sundqvist stole the puck and carried it down the ice, where his pass to Robert Thomas, just out of the penalty box, is broken up by Yandle. The fresh Thomas collected the loose disk, skates by a couple of exhausted Cats and found Ivan Barbashev in the slot, and he pumped the puck past Roberto Luongo to tie the game.
The goal came right after Dadonov hit the post. If the Panthers go up by two the game is probably over.
Seconds later, the Blues dumped the puck into the Florida end and Roberto Luongo set it up for Matheson behind the net. Instead of skating it out or passing to a teammate, Matheson oh so casually gave the puck to Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz quickly passed it to David Perron in the right circle and he ripped a wrister by Luongo to put the Blues ahead.
After taking a pass from Brayden Schenn, Jaden used his Schwartz by blow by Denis Malgin and Alex Petrovic before finding Perron in the right circle again. Perron passed this time and got lucky when the puck went in off a skate, giving St. Louis a two-goal advantage at 11:12.
The Panthers tested the Blues fragility and came up with two goals in 1:28 to even the score.
First, MacKenzie Weegar beat Jake Allen from the right circle 24 seconds after Perron’s second score, finishing off a setup from Jared McCann, who rounded the net after taking a pass from Mark Pysyk.
Barkov and Huberdeau combined on the assists on Hoffman tying goal at 13:14. Hoffman went to the net to deflect a perfect pass from Huberdeau, his 200th NHL helper, by Allen for his team-leading 15th goal.
The Blues hit the winning note with 3:55 in regulation when Schenn cross-checked Matheson to the ice, allowing him to pick up the rebound of David Dunn’s shot from the point that struck Alex Steen first, and push it into the open net.
In a apropos moment, Barkov cleanly won the game’s final offensive zone faceoff, but the puck went between Florida’s blueliners allowing the final few seconds to tick off the clock.
Simply a devastating type of defeat to another one of the league’s worst teams. I’m actually a little (not much, but a little) surprised I didn’t wake up to find Bob Boughner out of a job this morning. Perhaps it’s timing. Another meltdown like this or a one-sided defeat in St. Paul must result in some sort of change. Whether that’s a coaching change or a trade, something has to give. There is no accountability on this team as players are allowed to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. In addition to the constant defensive lapses, Bob Boughner is running Aleksander Barkov into the ground because the beyond the first line and Dadonov, there is nothing coming from the rest of the forwards. This was a game against an opponent that Panthers had to come away with two points gained. Instead, they found a way to not do that on a night when fellow wild card hopefuls Montreal, Detroit, Ottawa, Carolina and the New York Rangers all lost.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)