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Recap: Panthers get torched 7-3 by Devils

Barkov makes franchise history in embarrassing loss

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

All of the sudden the Florida Panthers are on a losing streak after getting torched 7-3 by the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Andreas Johnsson scored twice, Ty Smith had a goal and two assists, and P.K. Subban and Nico Hischier each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, who are now riding a three-game point streak. MacKenzie Blackwood made 35 of 38 for his first win of the season in just his second start.

After Sam Bennett opened the scoring, from Owen Tippett and Carter Verhaeghe, by knocking in his own rebound on a wraparound play 3:53 into the first, the Devils got goals from Johnsson, a rebound on a Devils power play, and via a Hischier redirection 1:59 apart to take a 2-1 lead to the dressing room.

Aleksander Barkov made franchise history with his club record 189th goal 24 seconds into the middle frame. Barkov scored after Verhaeghe’s shot was blocked and he was able to put the puck back out into the slot for the captain. Anthony Duclair picked up the secondary assist on the goal that tied the score at two apiece.

The Panthers forged ahead 1:25 later when Gustav Forsling took a cross from Jonathan Huberdeau and sent a pass knifing through the slot that Tippett was able to guide past a helpless Blackwood.

Inexplicably, that would be all she wrote for the Cats. Johnsson would notch his second of the night, finishing off a rush a mere 29 seconds later and Subban would get the go-ahead goal with 1:45 left in the frame when his shot deflected off Sam Reinhart and soared by Spencer Knight.

Huberdeau’s asinine decision to try and pull up and make a play just inside the Devils blue line instead of getting the puck deep with the Cats shorthanded early in the third period led directly to Pavel Zacha’s power-play marker at 4;:44 to give New Jersey breathing room. Smith scored from long range off yet another deflection 29 seconds later to double the lead, and Jimmy Vesey completed the five-goal run with an empty-netter.

The Panthers are looking rather leaky on defense over the last six periods and Knight isn’t giving them the big saves they were getting from Sergei Bobrovsky. Knight (and his mates) seem to have a penchant for giving up a second goal shortly after giving up the first one. That needs to stop. Hopefully, this is just a blip on the radar. The Cats have been through a lot lately, and perhaps they were due for a letdown after winning Saturday night’s battle of the best against Carolina and the Coach Q situation. Hats off to the Devils, who scored six times on 24 shots, but a few of those goals were harmless looking plays that ended up finding their way in off deflections. The Panthers out-shot and out-hit the Devils, however, they could not stem the tide once the home team got rolling. On to Pittsburgh.

Odds & Ends

  • Before we get to the post-game tidbits, I want to send out condolences to the friends and family of a big-time Panthers fan, JJ Havekotte, who passed away recently. Rest in peace, JJ.
  • Aleksander Barkov’s historic 189th goal came in his 541st NHL game. Barkov finished the game with four shots, three hits and one block.
  • The Devils entered the game with the 30th-ranked power play in the NHL. They went 2-for-4 with the man-advantage. Ugh...
  • The Panthers lost for the first time this season when scoring first. They were a perfect 8-0 prior to last night.
  • Alexander Holtz, the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft, collected his first career point with an assist on Pavel Zacha’s goal. Dawson Mercer and Jonas Siegenthaler each had two assists, and Tomas Tatar, Jesper Boqvist, Damon Severson and Jesper Bratt also added helpers.
  • Spencer Knight had a rough go of it in his career back-to-back. The 20-year-old gave up ten goals on 48 shots against the Rangers and Devils. That’s a .791 save percentage. No bueno...
  • For more on the Cats second straight loss pay a visit to All About The Jersey.

Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)