The Florida Panthers remained winless in Sin City, dropping a tough 4-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena to conclude its four-game road trip with a 2-2 record.
Florida entered the third period up by a goal, but as been the case many a time this season, they couldn’t add on and the Golden Knights got the game-tying goal from recently-returned Jack Eichel at 8:37 and the winner from William Carrier with 2:36 left in regulation.
Eichel took an outlet pass from Kaeden Korczak and beat Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole on a breakaway (nothing new there...) after Marc Staal had his shot blocked in the Vegas zone.
The goal came a few minutes after the Panthers failed to cash in on a long two-man advantage. That failure went a long way into turning a potential win into Florida’s 20th loss.
Carrier crashed the net to convert a centering pass from Keegan Kolesar, who made the play after gloving down an attempted clear. The goal survived a challenge from Paul Maurice.
With Sam Reinhart in the penalty box and Bobrovsky off for an extra attacker, William Karlsson picked off Sam Bennett and put the clincher into an empty net with a 1:07 remaining.
Vegas had just six shots in the third and scored on three of them. Ay, Dios mío!
The Panthers opened the scoring with 2:02 left in the first period. Eetu Luostarinen tipped the puck to on an onrushing Aaron Ekblad, who broke in on Adin Hill and hit the post. Nick Cousins was awarded the goal after it was ruled that defenseman Ben Hutton knocked Eric Staal into the net and knocked it loose from its moorings.
Nichols Roy evened it up at 4:08 of the second, scoring from the inner edge of the right circle after Brandon Montour couldn’t handle an Aleksander Barkov pass and Kolesar hit him with an nifty little backhand drop.
Florida retook the lead at 12:47 with Karlsson off for interfering with Bobrovsky. Hill lost his stick after stopping Sam Bennett in tight. Bennett got to the rebound and passed to Barkov, who fed Tkachuk in the bumper position. Tkachuk quickly centered to Reinhart in the slot and he banged a shot past the stick-less keeper. Nice piece of work by the Cats power play.
If the Panthers were a little more careful with the puck they likely would’ve won this one. A hop over Montour’s stick led to the first Vegas goal. Marc Staal failed to get his shot through on the second. Anton Lundell’s aerial clear didn’t get out over blue line on the game-winner, and Bennett got picked off on the empty-netter. In addition to the carelessness with the puck, some of the more common elements of a Cats loss were seen yet again. A lack of finishing ability (two goals on 39 shots), a complete failure on the power play at a key moment, and Bobrovsky getting outplayed by the opposing backup. Florida finished a difficult road trip with a respectable .500 record, but based on where they are at in the standings, that’s just not going to cut it.
Aces & Deuces
- Florida fell to 0-4-1 all-time in Las Vegas. Their only point at T-Mobile Arena came in a 6-5 shootout loss on February 28, 2019.
- In addition to scoring his 15th of the season, Jack Eichel amassed a game-high ten shots on goal, had three hits, and won 56% of his faceoffs.
- Matthew Tkachuk collected his 30th assist and extended his point streak to five games. Tkachuk registered four shots on goal and was credited with three hits.
- Speaking of point streaks, Nicholas Roy upped his to four games. He has three goals and two assists over that span.
- Adin Hill stopped 38 shots to get his tenth win, while Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 27 saves and took his 13th loss.
- Anton Lundell, who had a goal disallowed, Aleksander Barkov and Brandon Montour all finished with a -3 rating. Montour led the Panthers with six shots on goal.
- When it comes to the Cats in Vegas, the house always wins. Knights On Ice has the other side.