The Florida Panthers flew into Alberta once again, this time having won 6 of their last 7 games, and the first 2 of this current 5 game Canadian road trip. The Flames entered the night holding the 3rd position in the Pacific Division.
BEFORE THE GAME
The Florida Panthers made some changes to their uniforms as a way to honor the victims of the senseless tragedy that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Panthers added a “MSD” patch to their right sleeve on the stripe.
The Panthers, Flames, and NHL referees also added a Stoneman Douglas Eagles sticker to the back of their helmets to honor the victims. Finally, the pre-game ceremonies included a moment of silence as a sign of tribute to the victims.
Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic Parkland shooting in Florida. pic.twitter.com/Tmi8cbdacP— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 18, 2018
The Cats didn’t waste much time getting on the board early as Mike Matheson continues to show why he received an eight-year contract extension earlier this season. Matheson entered the Flames’ zone with speed and was able to get a shot off and put it by an unsuspecting David Rittich for the early 1-0 lead.
This was Mike Matheson’s 7th goal and 20th point of the season.
Michael Haley once again found himself in another fight, this time against Ryan Lomberg.
The game continued on and it looked like Roberto Luongo’s 2-month hiatus was well worth the wait as it was imperative that Florida’s number 1 goaltender was as close to 100% healthy as possible.
The Flames would tie the game at 14:09. Dougie Hamilton scored on the power play after Colton Sceviour was charged for hooking.
Near the period’s end, Dougie Hamilton’s stick whacked Aleksander Barkov in the face causing him to bleed badly. Hamilton was hit with a 4-minute high stick and the Panthers would have the power play rollover into the 2nd period with the teams tied at 1 a piece.
The Panthers once more wasted no time once play resumed as at the 0:58 mark of the 2nd period, Vincent Trocheck would get himself a power play goal. The play was setup by Barkov himself who flipped the puck past a couple of Calgary defenders as Trocheck zoomed into the offensive zone and was able to shoot the puck past Rittich.
Trocheck’s 22nd goal of the season was courtesy of Barkov’s 33rd assist. 2-1 Florida.
The Flames would be hit with another high-stick penalty, this time by former Cat Michael Frolik. Los Gatos would douse the Flames hopes once more as Evgenii Dadonov would jump up to deflect a shot from Keith Yandle that twould find it’s way behind Rittich. 3-1 Panteras.
Dadonov now has 15 goals in his return to the NHL. The assists went to Keith Yandle (28 assists, 34 points) and Vincent Trocheck (31 assists, 53 points).
Not long after that the Panthers would extinguish the Flames again. As the Flames won a faceoff in the their own zone, they attempted to enter the neutral zone but a diving Aaron Ekblad was able to keep the puck in the Flames’ zone. From there the puck found Dadonov who ripped a shot to the net. Barkov had turned around and put his stick down and the deflection got past Rittich. With Florida taking a 4-1 lead, David Rittich’s night was over and Jon Gillies entered in relief.
Sasha Barkov now has 19 goals on the season. Assists went to Dadonov (21 assists, 36 points) and Ekblad (12 assists, 24 points). Ekblad has registered a point in his last 6 games.
The team formerly known as the Atlanta Flames weren’t done yet as Dougie Hamilton would get another goal on a power play halving the Cats lead at 4-2.
Mike Matheson would strike again with a heavy shot from the middle of the blueline to make it 5-2.
Matheson now has 8 goals and 21 points in 2017-18. Barkov would notch his 34th assist (53 points) and Mark Pysyk his 8th assist (11 points).
Fisticuffs were had again as Colton Sceviour decided to have a go at Travis Hamonic.
The Panthers would get the touchdown with a goal from Jared McCann on another deflection in front of the net.
McCann now as 6 goals and 15 points on the season and is on pace to set career highs in every offensive category. Petrovic grabbed his 6th point and Weegar his 5th point.
With that the Flames attempted a comeback. Dougie Hamilton would tally another goal for a hat trick making it 6-3. The Flames looked to have another goal but the replay showed that it was deflected above the net.
Finally, Haley would take on Garnet Hathaway to end his night early.
PUNTOS DE PANTERAS
- Roberto Luongo ended the night stopping 30 of 33 shots. The Panthers’ goaltending core is now at full-strength which will be important as the Panthers begin to push their way into a sea of Metropolitan teams fighting for the 2 wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.
- The team scoring lead is now a 3-way tie at 53 points for Barkov, Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau.
- The Panthers power play is among the best in the NHL in the month of February. No you have not gone crazy.
- The Flames loss has them on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff fight as the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks shootout finale both gave them points to take the 2nd wild card and 3rd seed in the Pacific Division, respectively.
- With two more points the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights will officially take the title of “Most Successful First Year All-Time Team” from the 1993-94 Florida Panthers.
The Panthers have no time to dilly-dally as they now have the second of the formerly-Atlanta-back-to-back against the Winnipeg Jets. The flying machines of Manitoba sit in 2nd in the Central Division and are the 5th-best team in the NHL.
Keep it here at LBC for the game tonight at 8 PM.