The Florida Panthers entered last night’s contest having gone 7-3 in the month of February so far and making incredible ground in the Wild Card race. The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins entered South Florida on the second night of a back-to-back, but on a 6-game winning streak.
The Panthers struck first when Pittsburgh native Vincent Trocheck tipped a pass from Denis Malgin on a rush that made it past Pens goalie Tristan Jarry. 1-0 Florida.
Trocheck continues leading the team in goal scoring at 24 (55 points). Denis Malgin (8 assists, 18 points) and Keith Yandle with the helpers.
The period would continue for a while with Jarry robbing Nick Bjugstad of a great chance but then Carl Hagelin was able to rush the net and slip one past Roberto Luongo to tie the game.
Just as the final minute began Evgenii Dadonov took matters into his own hands by dangling his way around the Pens defenseman and then flinging the puck past Jarry for a 2-1 Cats lead.
The assists on Dadonov’s first of the night went to Aleksander Barkov (36th assist) and Nick Bjugstad (20 assists, 31 points).
The Panthers would once again strike early in the period as Jamie McGinn tapped in a pass from Jared McCann and an outstretched Jarry couldn’t make it in time. 3-1 Florida.
This was McGinn’s 9th goal of the season (17 points) with the assists from McCann (10 assist, 16 points) and Alex Petrovic.
Midway in the period and the Panthers offense took advantage of Jarry again this time with another cross-ice pass by Colton Sceviour that found Captain Derek MacKenzie, who shot it for the 4-1 lead.
MacKenzie has 3 goals now (11 points) with assists from Sceviour (9 assists, 16 points) and another from Petrovic (7 assists, 8 points).
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan had seen enough of Jarry and pulled him for Matt Murray who had started the night before. This move infused the Penguins with energy as Evgeni Malkin made it a 4-2 game with a tip past Luongo.
It looked like Patric Hornqvist had made it 4-3 when he shoved the puck into the leg of Luongo past the goal line however a challenge from Panthers head coach Bob Boughner was affirmed by Toronto to have shown that Luongo had stopped the puck but theat Hornqvist used his stick to push the puck in which negated the goal.
The period would then end.
The 3rd period is when the game turned from good to great.
Malkin would quickly get Pitt within one with his second goal of the night.
Not to be outdone however, Dadonov got his second of the night as the announcement of Malkin’s goal was happening as he and Barkov entered the offensive zone then Barkov magically passed it right to Dadonov who shot it past Matt Murray. 5-3 Panteras.
Dad’s 2nd of the night was Barkov’s 2nd assist of the night and Yandle’s 2nd as well (32 assists, 38 points).
Surprisingly the game had no penalties until the Penguins would be tagged with a tripping, cross checking, and too much man penalty.
The game then took a turn for the Penguins as a big hit Jamie Oleksiak on Mike Matheson enraged Nick Bjugstad.
Oleksiak getting the better of Bjugstad in this one shifted momentum to the Penguins as the ensuing power play had the Pens quickly make it 5-4. Less than a minute later and Bryan Rust would tie the game at five. The Pittsburgh bandwagon was in full force as they began drowning out the Panthers fans with their chants. It was clear that these Pittsburgh folks were pinning all their hopes for another Stanley Cup run by the Penguins or else they’ll endure a long summer of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. No person should have to endure that.
But then at the 18:10 mark, Dadonov made it clear that he, as the Florida Panthers’ dad, could beat up any of the Pittsburgh dads at the BB&T Center last night as he just completely outsmarted Murray one-on-one to not only get the Panthers’ game-winning goal but completed the hat trick (with some rats sprinkled in).
Dadonov’s night ended with 3 goals (18 goals, 41 points), all with the primary helper from Barkov (38 assists, 58 points) and Jonathan Huberdeau with another assist on the GWG (37 assists, 55 points).
The Penguins made one last flurry of shots with an empty net but the Panthers raised the Jolly Mario with a 6-5 win.
- Dadonov (FLA) - 3 goals
- Malkin (PIT) - 2 goals, 1 assist
- Barkov (FLA) - 3 assists
Puntos de Panteras
- The Florida Panthers lead the NHL in fighting penalty minutes. A complaint in 2016-17 was that the Panthers were too soft. I think they’ve rectified that.
- Barkov’s big night has him at 58 points in 58 games played. He is a point-per-game player.
- The Cats stayed at 5 points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2nd Wild card as the CBJ defeated the Chicago Blackhawks to hold onto that spot. The Cats also remain 10 points behind the 1st Wild Card New Jersey Devils who defeated the New York Islanders.
- The Penguins loss has them as the 3rd seed in the Metro division behind the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
- 17,581 enjoyed the contest in Sunrise.
The Panthers massive Florida-stand continues on Tuesday as the Toronto Maple Leafs come to visit. Thank you for reading, please comment below, and keep it here at LBC for more Panthers news.