Sergei Bobrovsky made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season, and second in a Florida Panthers uniform, as the Cats bounced back from a disappointing outing in Calgary with a 6-0 win over the reeling Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
Bobrovsky was at his best in the first period, when he stopped all 17 shots, including a dandy on Jesse Puljujarvi with time running out, as the Oilers vastly outplayed the Panthers, but were forced to head to the dressing room mired in a scoreless tie.
Aleksander Barkov ignited Florida’s offense with a power-play goal 5:28 into second. Jonathan Huberdeau went down low to Sam Reinhart, whose aerial cross came down on Barkov’s blade and he deftly knocked the puck just inside the near post past Mikko Koskinen.
Reinhart would deliver another fine primary 2:39 later. This time, while behind the net, Samson spotted Carter Verhaeghe alone in the left circle. Verhaeghe had all kinds of time to load up and zipped a wrister home to put the Cats up by a deuce. The secondary assist went to Brandon Montour, who activated from the point to help out down low.
Barkov’s second of the night, 7:13 into the final frame, would take the wind of Edmonton’s sails. Radko Gudas won a puck battle in his own end and carried back up the ice before springing Barkov with a crisp pass. The captain cut between two Oilers before solving Koskinen from the high slot.
The Panthers power play would click twice more in a span of 74 seconds late in the period with Anthony Duclair knocking in a loose puck, assists to Barkov and Reinhart, at 15:40, and Sam Bennett slinging a backhander by Koskinen’s glove, from Owen Tippett and Anton Lundell, at the 16:54 mark to put the game away.
Tippett would drive a shot in after taking a return pass from Maxim Mamin to complete the scoring at 18:16. Both players were inserted into the lineup to replace Patric Hornqvist and Frank Vatrano.
Hats off to the Panthers who not only shook off a lackluster loss to the Flames, but also turned things around after a poor opening period. Ex-Cat Colton Sceviour’s cross-checking minor opened the door and Barkov and Co. walked right through it to take control of the game and then made it a rout with three goals late in the third. The Panthers get right back at it tonight with a stop in Vancouver. I’m curious to see if Andrew Brunette, goes back-to-back with Bobrovsky, like he did last weekend, or if Spencer Knight gets the call.
Pressure & Viscosity
- The Panthers are a now a perfect 20-0 when leading after the second period. They top the NHL with 165 goals, which marks the most-ever in franchise history through the 40-game mark.
- Sergei Bobrovsky posted his 20th win of the season and 35th career shutout. It was his first whitewashing since he blanked the Detroit Red Wings on November 2, 2019. Bobrovsky is 8-0-1 in his last nine starts.
- Florida went 3 for 5 with the man advantage and killed off all three Edmonton power plays.
- The Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were limited to three shots on goal apiece. Jesse Puljujarvi and Darnell Nurse each registered a game-high five shots.
- Aleksander Barkov, Sam Bennett and Anthony Duclair share the team lead in goals with 17. The already boast seven double-digit scorers with more to come..
- Visit Copper and Blue for the other side of Florida’s sixth road win of 2021-22.