The Florida Panthers scored late in the third to send the game to overtime where Pavel Buchnevic won it with a wraparound goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 decision in the back end of the home and home series.
Aleksander Barkov returned to the lineup, unfortunately he would depart in the third, and opened the scoring by tapping in Maxim Mamin’s nifty cross on the backhand 6:49 into the game. Carter Verhaeghe earned the second assist on Barkov’s tenth goal
The Blues tied things up 4:20 into second after applying sustained pressure in the Panthers zone. After taking a pass from Buchnevich down low, Ivan Barbashev centered to Vladimir Tarasenko, who came off the bench to join the play, and he fired a shot from the right circle past Spencer Knight.
Florida regained the lead 52 seconds later after Mamin feed Verhaeghe in the slot and his shot blocked, Brandon Montour took possession of the rebound and snapped a shot over Ville Husso’s blocker-side shoulder.
St. Louis responded with a power-play goal at the 13:34 mark that saw Brayden Schenn deposit the puck into a gaping net after a beautifully executed side to side passing play involving Tarasenko and team scoring leading Jordan Kyrou. Sam Bennett’s slash on Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues the man-advantage that they quickly (27 seconds) cashed in.
The home side went ahead 6:48 into the third when Barbashev’s wrister from the edge of the left circle deflected in off of Brandon Saad. Logan Brown drew the second helper by setting up Barbashev for the one-timer.
Jonathan Huberdeau would earn the Cats a point with 5:32 remaining in the regulation, redirecting a pretty backdoor pass from defenseman Radko Gudas. MacKenzie Weegar also picked up an assist on the game-tying goal which extended Huberdeau’s point streak to four games.
An injured Husso departed the game at that point with 34 saves on 37 shots, as did defenseman Jake Walman, another big effort by the netminder to hold the Cats at bay for a second straight game.
Journeyman Charlie Lindgren entered and stopped three shots before Buchnevich ended it 53 seconds into the extra session. Bennett was too passive playing Buchnevich, who took a hand off from Colton Parayko near his own blue line and went all way down the left side before rounding the net and beating Knight rather easily. The rookie keeper anticipated a short side, five-hole and dropped to his knees, taking himself out of position. Kryou also collected an assist on the GWG.
Although he didn’t get the win, Husso’s performance, especially his 19-save effort in the opening frame, was a big part of the shorthanded Blues coming away with two points. The Panthers played a pretty solid road game, outshooting St. Louis 40-30, but could only come away with a point, leaving them 3-3-4 away from FLA Live Arena. Florida is off until Friday when they face the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale. With the Colorado Avalanche looming, that’s one they need to come away with the full two points.
Sharps & Flats
- Jonathan Huberdeau became the first Panther to hit thirty points this season. Huberdeau has racked up ten points (2G/8A) in his last four games.
- Aleksander Barkov returned after missing eight games with a knee injury but left the tilt in the third with a new issue. He played 18:03 and finished with three shots and +2 rating.
- Maxim Mamin and Carter Verhaeghe each had two assists playing with Barkov on the newly assembled first line. The helpers were the first of the season for Mamin.
- Charlie Lindgren earned his first win in his first appearance with the Blues. Spencer Knight finished with 26 saves and fell to 6-3-2.
- Sam Bennett matched Ryan O’Reilly with a game-high six shots, but his second period penalty and inability to slow down Pavel Buchnevich in overtime played a big part in the loss.
- For more on the final game of the season series, check out St. Louis Game Time.