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Rats rain as Cats reach new record, reduce Rags to rubble in SO

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Tight battle results in shootout win for Las Panteras

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Long live the King
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Prelude

The Florida Panthers entered Saturday night’s contest on fire and still gorging on home cooking and a point out of the 2nd wild card spot. The New York Rangers came into this game at ten points out of the 2nd wild card spot and slowly deteriorating with each game.

1st Period

Some rough hosing to start the game as the league’s fighting penalty leader Michael Haley took on Cody McLeod.

The Panthers would take advantage of an interference penalty by Rob O’Gara when the red-hot power play produced another goal. Keith Yandle fed Vincent Trocheck who shot it on net and the puck squeaked behind Henrik Lundqvist just enough for Jonathan Huberdeau to promptly slam it home for the 1-0 Gatos lead.

This was Huby’s 22nd goal of the season. The helpers went to Vincent Trocheck and Keith Yandle (40 assists, 46 points).

2nd Period

The second period pushed onward but the real action happened at the 8:13 mark. The Cats entered with speed into the zone and it looked like Huberdeau and Trocheck were gonna make some more magic. Huberdeau’s shot missed but ricocheted back to Trocheck back behind the net and a no look pass to the front of the net found new Panther Frank Vatrano fooling King Henrik for the 2-0 score.

This was Vatrano’s 3rd goal of the season (3 points) and first with Florida after being traded from the Boston Bruins. The assists went to Trocheck (36 assists, 62 points) and Huberdeau (39 assists, 61 points).

The Rangers would get on the board five minutes later with a goal by Mats Zuccarello. The Cats would hang on to the 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd.

3rd Period

The Blue Shirts (well, white shirts really) made it 2-2 at 17 seconds into the 3rd period. New ballgame thanks to Mika Zibanejad. The Panthers were not going to take this lying down.

At the 1:02 mark a Jared McCann shot from a sharp angle bounced around the boards and found Alexander Petrovic who fired it at Lundqvist and the rebound found Jamie McGinn who pinged it into the goal. 3-2 Cats.

Unfortunately, the New York Rangers would just not accept their fate that their season is over and they will be relegated to hanging out with the New York Knicks for a long summer of misery as Kevin Hayes tied the game at 7:25. The game would continue from there as the Rangers made a strong push however a lot of icing calls and Roberto Luongo holding his ground bailed the Cats out.

An all-important point was had. Overtime here we come

Overtime

The Panthers and Rangers traded chances in the overtime period with some tense action. Although the Cats lost a chance at the regulation/overtime win (ROW) which will matter in case of a tiebreaker situation they still had another shot at grabbing that other point and keeping up with the Jackets and Devils.

Shootout

First up was Mats Zuccarello who zigged as Luongo zagged to put the Rangers up at the top of the first round. At the bottom of the first, Jonathan Huberdeau had Lundquist sprawling but he lost the puck at the side of the net. 1-0 NYR.

Zibanejad was next but the puck just plopped into Luongo’s lap. Next up for Florida was Aleksander Barkov and well just watch if you can. He is too good at this.

On to the third round makes quick work of Ryan Spooner leaving it up to Vincent Trocheck to go for the walk-off.

The victory set the Panther’s franchise record for consecutive wins at home.

3 Stars

  1. Vincent Trocheck -FLA- 2 assists, shootout game-winning goal
  2. Frank Vatrano -FLA- 1 goal
  3. Jamie McGinn -FLA- 1 goal

Puntos De Panteras

  • The Panthers remain on the outside looking in of the playoff picture as they still remain 2 points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were idle, and 3 points back of the New Jersey Devils, who defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a shootout. Los Gatos still have 3 games in hand on both Columbus and New Jersey.
  • 16,712 enjoyed the contest at the BB&T Center.
  • The loss has the New York Rangers sitting 10 points out of the 2nd wild card spot with 13 games remaining.
  • The NHLPA Player’s Poll for 2017-18 was released and had the BB&T Center as the worst ice surface in the NHL according to a percentage of players. I think they’re just salty over the Panthers’ 21-9-3 record in Sunrise.
  • Frank Vatrano made his debut for the Panthers and took the second star. As a reward and welcome to the team, he got the game ball.

The Panthers will attempt to continue to push their point streak and home winning streak on Monday against Erik Karlsson and the incompetent parliamentary bureaucrats that are the Ottawa Senators. See you then LBC followers and please comment below on your thoughts on the game. Thank you for reading.