Panthers rally for 3-2 win over struggling Coyotes

Reimer stops 39, Matheson nets go-ahead goal

Jame Reimer made 39 saves and the Florida Panthers overcame a two-goal deficit to rally to a 3-2 win over the slumping Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena, ending their five-game, ten-day road trip with a 2-2-1 record.

Looking to snap a six-game losing streak, the Coyotes peppered Reimer with 23 shots in the opening period, but Florida’s keeper came up strong with 22 stops, including this fine blocker snub of Christian Dvorak.

Christian Fischer got the only goal of the first frame, deflecting in fellow rookie Clayton Keller’s shot from the top of the right circle at 15:51, just after a holding penalty on Keith Yandle expired. Oliver Ekman-Larsson drew the secondary assist on the goal.

The Desert Dogs added on at the 18:14 mark of the second when Derek Stepan jumped on a loose puck in front after Brendon Perlini knocked down Alex Goligoski’s shot from the point and shoveled it into a yawning net.

Nick Bjugstad pulled one back for the Panthers with ten seconds remaining in the period. Derek MacKenzie won an offensive draw to Bjugstad and he ripped it by Antti Raanta for his ninth goal of the campaign.

Florida tied the game 3:37 into the third when Evgenii Dadonov’s hard cross found Denis Malgin and the diminutive Swiss forward beat Raanta upstairs. Vincent Trocheck picked up the second assist on Malgin’s fifth, making a nice play at the blue line to get the puck to a streaking Dadonov.

Dadonov forced a turnover that Mike Matheson collected in the neutral zone and took to the net for the eventual game-winner 2:04 later.  Matheson split the Arizona defense and fended off former Panther Jason Demers before deking and stuffing the puck through Raanta’s five-hole.

After playing a terrible third period in Las Vegas, the Panthers were just as bad in the first in Glendale. Thankfully, Reimer came up huge and the offense erupted for three goals in a 5:51 to end the up and down road trip with a win. The Cats return to Sunrise to close out 2017 with homes games against Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Montreal.

Full Highlights (courtesy of

Kibbles & Bits

  • After failing to score in his first 28 appearances of the season, Mike Matheson has lit the lamp three times in the past five games.
  • The Coyotes lost their seventh straight game (0-6-1) and are 1-8-2 in their past eleven. Arizona (19) is the only team in the NHL that hasn’t reached the 20-point plateau yet.
  • Vincent Trocheck has 11 points (3G/8A) in nine games after assisting on Denis Malgin's game-tying goal.
  • Christian Fischer and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a game-high six shots on goal. Aleksander Barkov paced the Panthers with five.
  • Antti Raanta finished the game with 23 saves and saw his record drop to 4-9-2.
  • Florida’s penalty kill remained hot, blunting all four of the Coyotes power-play opportunities.
  • Forward Nicholas Merkley made his NHL debut and logged 13:30 TOI. Arizona selected Merkley 30th overall in 2015.
  • Five For Howling has the other side of the latest dogs and cats fight./