Recap: Panthers rally for a point, but fall 5-4 in shootout to Flames

Cats finish disppointing homestand with another almost

Rasmus Andersson scored in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the Calgary Flames to a 5-4 shootout win over the Florida Panthers in the first meeting of the teams since Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar went north and Matthew Tkachuk came south.

Second-year man Adam Ruzicka was the game’s best player, notching two goals and an assist. Nikita Zadorov and Blake Coleman also scored for the Flames. Huberdeau evened the shootout in the bottom second round after Anton Lundell opened the first with a conversion.

The Panthers, brightly clad in their dazzling new Reverse Retro sweaters, tied the score thrice in reguluation to earn a single point and finish its five-game homestand with a mediocre 2-2-1 record, which seems just about right for this inconsistent bunch.

Down by two after Ruzick’a first period power-play goal and Zadrov’s goal off the rush 50 seconds into the middle frame, Colin White got the Panthers on the board at 3:30 when stole the puck away from Jacob Markstrom behind the net and wrapped it home.

Sam Reinhart evened the score with a power-play goal from the slot at 10:56 with the assists going to Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov. A tidy bit of passing was involved as all five Cats touched the puck after a Barkov faceoff win.

Calgary retook the lead 2:02 later after Elias Lindholm beat Lundell in the left circle and Ruzikca fired the puck by Knight.

The Panthers made it a 3-3 game 1:12 into the third when Tkachuk fed back to the left point to Gustav Forsling, who was able to slip the puck into the slot, where Sam Bennett got a stick on it before Eetu Luostarinen finished it off for his sixth of the season.

A hardworking Mikael Backlund was able to get the puck in deep and got it right back from Aaron Ekblad, who was pressured by Hubderdeau, before throwing it in front, where it struck Forsling before coming to Blake Coleman, who quickly shot through a leaky Knight at 6:56.

Tkachuk would tie it one more time getting his first goal against his old team with 6:14 left in regulation. After a Brandon Montour miss, the puck came back to Marc Staal, who passed down low to a curling Montour, who crossed to Sam Bennett. Bennett slapped a shot from the high right side that Tkachuk deflected past Markstrom.

After Lundell opened the shootout with a goal, Barkov, Tkachuk, Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe got stopped by Markstrom, who finished the game with 31 saves over the first sixty-five minutes, and the Panthers suffered yet another loss in a winnable game. At 9-7-2, Florida, who has dropped three out of four, currently sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and two points out of a wild card spot. The Cats next right back it this evening as they’ll head to Ohio to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tinder & Ash

  • In his first game against Calgary, Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal and an assist, had two shots on goal, one hit, one block and two takeaways in 21:59 TOI. Tkachuk was the best of the three traded players.
  • In addition to his shootout strike, Jonathan Huberdeau was credited with two shots and three hits in 19:56 TOI while MacKenzie Weegar logged 16:25 TOI and had four shots, two blocks and a hit. Both players finished with a +1 rating in their return to Sunrise.
  • After looking really sharp in relief on Thursday against Dallas, Spencer Knight had a rough go of it yesterday, finishing with 31 saves on 35 Flames shots. There were at least a couple of goals he’d want back.
  • Returning after a one-game absence, Aleksander Barkov led all skaters with eight shots on goal. Would’ve been nice if one of them went in. Barkov, who had a career-high 39 goals last season, has scored just four times this season.
  • Elias Lindholm collected two assists while Mikael Backlund, Adam Ruzicka, Noah Hanifin and Nikita Zadorov each had one.
  • For the brighter side of last night’s result visit Matchsticks and Gasoline./