Andrew Formenton opened the scoring 7:54 into the first when he collected a long pass from Michael De Zotto, which took a fortuitous bounce off Radko Gudas’ shin, and broke in on Bobrovksy and sent a shot off the cross bar and the goaltender’s arm before the puck trickled over the goal line.
After taking a pass from Drake Batherson, Josh Norris’ low, hard wrister was denied by Bobrovsky and the rebound came out right to defenseman Artem Zub, who fired it in blocker-side to put the Senators up by two at 15:26.
The Panthers kept Anton Forsberg busy all period, but he was up to task stopping all 19 Florida shots.
Ottawa padded its lead 6:47 into the middle frame. MacKenize Weegar turned the puck over to Tyler Ennis and he set up Dylan Gambrell, whose shot along the ice slipped under Bobrovsky’s right pad.
A hooking penalty on Connor Brown put the Cats on a power play and they took advantage when Claude Giroux loaded up Anthony Duclair for a one-timer that he blasted by Forsberg from the right circle at 8:55. The second assist went to Sam Reinhart, who centered to Giroux from the left side, after Jonathan Huberdeau made a tough play to hold the puck in and advance it to the former Sabre.
Patric Hornqvist would somehow get the Cats within one 1:02 later when he threw a backhander at Forsberg that was initially stopped. Hornqvist took a whack at the rebound and the puck struck Forsberg in the back, hit the post, hit his back again and then was gloved by the keeper over the goal line. The assists on the crazy goal went to Gustav Forsling and Noel Acciari.
After another long stint of Forsberg magic, the Panthers finally tied the game with 2:16 left in regulation and Bobrovsky off for an extra attacker. Giroux won an offensive draw to Huberdeau, who swept the puck back to Barkov at the right point. Barkov then snapped a shot through traffic that found it’s way home to knot the score at threes.
The teams each had three shots on goal in the extra session, but overtime failed to produce a winner, so to the shootout we would go, where Barkov would win it in fine fashion with the only conversion in the bottom of the second round by lifting a backhander over Forsberg’s glove. Let’s go to Toronto, baby!
With the comeback win, which saw Florida outshot Ottawa by a 49-22 margin, the Panthers are now 4-1-1 in this seven-game run of road tilts which concludes tonight in the center of the hockey universe. If not for the exploits of Second Star Forsberg, and - as expected - not the greatest of days for Bobrovsky, who stopped 19 of 22 in his first since action March 10, this wouldn’t have gone past sixty minutes. Kudos to Andrew Brunette for leaving Bob in to work the rust off. The Cats will enter tonight’s highly anticipated match in Toronto with an eight-point lead on the now fourth place Maple Leafs, who will not be happy after getting doubled-up in Montreal last night.
Law & Order
- Jonathan Huberdeau played in his 655th game to pass Stephen Weiss for most in Florida Panthers history. Huberdeau has produced two goals and five points during the Cats’ three-game winning streak.
- The Panthers won after trailing by three goals for the third time this season. The Detroit Red Wings in 1989-90, and the Minnesota North Stars and Edmonton Oilers in 1983-84 are the only teams to have had more such comebacks. They each did it four times.
- That’s back-to-back two-assist games for Claude Giroux. Giroux led Florida’s forwards with five shots on goal and also was credited with three hits in 19:53 TOI.
- While Giroux led the forwards, defenseman Ben Chiarot put a game-high six shots on goal and matched Drake Batherson, returning after a 28-game absence, with a game-high five hits.
- Artem Zub’s well-placed shot was first goal since January 23 and his fifth of the season.
- The Panthers took the season series lead two games to one. For more visit Silver Seven.