Brandon Montour scored 2:26 into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Panthers overcame a two-goal first period deficit to set a new franchise record with their 13th consecutive win.
The Cats fell behind 3:25 in after TJ Brodie dumped the puck into the Florida zone and the rebound off the back boards came out to Mitch Marner, who beat Sergei Bobrovsky with a slapper from the right circle. Morgan Rielly collected the second assist on Marner’s 35th goal.
Justin Holl put the visitors up by two at the 17:20 mark when his pass in front for Pierre Engvall deflected in off of Radko Gudas’ stick blade and skate. Unlucky play as Gudas had perfect coverage on Engvall. Holl got his third goal of the season with the assists going to David Kampf and Brodie.
The Panthers would halve the deficit 6:26 into the second. Mason Marchment took the puck from Claude Giroux and eventually split the defense and drove the net on a 3-on-2 rush only to be foiled by Jack Campbell’s poke-check. Aleksander Barkov was in the right spot to pot the rebound for his team-leading 39th of the season.
Giroux would even things at 14:54 with Brodie off for hooking Jonathan Huberdeau. The former Flyer won an offensive zone draw back to Barkov, who passed over to Huberdeau, who crossed to Giroux, who had curled back above the right circle, and he ripped a slap shot by Campbell with Anthony Duclair providing the screen for a perfectly executed power-play goal.
The teams would combine for 21 shots (12-9, Buds) in the third period, but Bobrovsky and Campbell would not yield, so the game went to the extra stanza, where the Cats have been masterful.
Florida set a new NHL record for overtime wins after a backchecking Giroux broke up John Tavares’ centering pass for William Nylander, Montour took possession, fed Marchement, and then sped the other way to set up a 2-on-1 break. Marchment patiently waited before flipping the puck in front for Montour, who jabbed it between Campbell’s pads for the breathtaking winner.
I was wondering if there would be some sort of a letdown from the Panthers after they wrapped up the Atlantic Division crown and the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday... Nope! After a slow start, the Cats battled back yet again to hit the 120-point mark for the first time in franchise history to open up a four-point lead on the scuffling Colorado Avalanche in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. Florida made franchise history with their 13th straight win and NHL history with their 13th overtime win of the season. They have 11-straight games at FLA Live Arena, where they are league-best 34-6. Incredible!
Rakes & Bags
- First Star Brandon Montour’s goal was his first game-winner and tenth overall of the season, establishing a new career-high for the 28-year-old veteran. Montour was already adding to new career-highs in assists and points.
- With his 39th goal, Aleksander Barkov tied Olli Jokinen (2006-07) for the third most in a season for the Panthers. Pavel Bure scored 59 in 2000-01 and 58 in 1999-2000. Barkov has four games remaining to become just the second Cat to hit the 40-goal mark.
- Speaking of 39, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots to collect his 39th win of the season. Quite a performance after getting pulled in his outing against Toronto.
- The Cats managed to hold Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL with 58 goals, off the score sheet. Matthews registered a game-high seven shots on goal and played 21:40 after missing the last three games.
- Claude Giroux earned Third Star honors for figuring in all three of Florida goals. His secondary assist on Barkov’s marker was his 40th of the campaign. Giroux has put up 20 points in 16 games with the Panthers. The club is 15-1 since acquiring him from Philadelphia.
- Jack Campbell delivered a quality start finishing with 32 saves in the tough loss. The Bettman point kept the Maple Leafs five points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who beat the Nashville Predators.
- Florida won the season series over Toronto, two games to one, but each team picked up four points. Read more at Pension Plan Puppets.