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Recap: Reimer comes up big in Panthers 3-2 shootout win over Flames

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Round three Trocheck goal gets Cats back to NHL .500

NHL: Calgary Flames at Florida Panthers Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

James Reimer made 41 saves and Vincent Trocheck struck the decisive blow in the top of round three of the shootout as the Florida Panthers edged the Calgary Flames 3-2 to end a two-game losing skid.

Reimer and Mike Smith saw plenty of rubber, with Florida’s keeper getting the more difficult of chances, but the goalies combined to keep things scoreless until late in the second period.

Smith was the first to get dinged when Mark Pysyk’s long wrister deflected in off the hockey pants of Evgenii Dadonov with 4:43 left in the middle frame.

This was nice piece of work by the Cats as all five skaters touched the puck. Keith Yandle dumped it down low, Vincent Trocheck retrieved it and made a short pass to Mike Hoffman, Instead of forcing a play in front, Hoffman went back to Pysyk at the point and the Panthers got the bounce off Dadonov to take the lead.

The Flames tied the game 6:51 into the third period, thanks to nice rush up ice by defenseman Noah Hanifin. Smith handed the puck off to Hanifin behind the Calgary net and he carried up ice with speed, going right to left, before hitting Mark Jankowski with a little drop pass. Jankowski glided into the circle and blew a wrister by Reimer for his tenth of the season. The goal withstood an offsides challenge by “Blender” Bob Boughner,

A few minutes after Reimer flat-out robbed Sean Monahan with a flailing kick save while on his belly, the Panthers forged ahead when Mike Hoffman took a pass from Yandle after a Trocheck faceoff win and cruised into a huge expanse of open space and whipped a wrist shot over Smith’s glove from the right circle for his team-leading 26th at the 11:59 mark. Hoffman had plenty of time and space to shoot sooner, but wisely moved in enough to use Travis Hamonic as a screen.

Calgary would force overtime on a late goal by another former Carolina Hurricane, Elias Lindholm. After taking an entry pass, Lindhom dished off to Johnny Gaudreau and headed to the net. Gaudreau curled and dropped the puck back to Rasmus Andersson, who one-timed a shot at Reimer. Lindholm was loose behind Mike Matheson and deflected the shot in with 2:24 left on the clock.

In overtime, Smith came up with huge saves on Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to get his club to the shootout.

After a Huberdeau miss to open round one, Monahan easily converted to give Calgary a quick advantage. Barkov countered with a beautiful backhand finish and Reimer denied Andrew Mangiapane to set the stage for round three. Trocheck worked in on Smith from left to right before freezing him with a fake and then going high with a forehand just inside the pipe. Matthew Tkachuk needed to score to keep the Flames alive, but Reimer held his ground and Tkachuk’s backhand sailed wide. Bonus point, Florida... Bettman point, Calgary!

***

Hats off to Reimer for his 41-save performance, which was a season-high for him. The Cats played well in the first two periods and then persevered after giving up the lead twice in the third as Calgary came hard, trying to end a three-game losing streak. Florida’s power play came up empty for the third game in a row, so the two 5-on-5 goals from Dadonov, who notched his 20th, and Hoffman were key, obviously. The win got the Panthers to 4-4 on this huge spate of games (12 of 13) on home ice. Perhaps it will provide a spark leading to more wins in the final four tilts over the next week before they head west.

Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)