Special teams power Panthers to 4-1 win over Avalanche
Roberto Luongo stops 31 to move past Grant Fuhr on the NHL's all-time wins list.
Vincent Trocheck scored twice and added an assist and Roberto Luongo finished with 31 saves to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
The victory was the 404th of Luongo's illustrious career, putting him all alone in ninth place on the NHL's all-time wins list.
Trocheck slung a shot by Reto Berra, with the Panthers on a power play, to cap a nice rush up ice at the 19:40 mark to open the scoring in an evenly played first period. The goal was set up by Brian Campbell and Luongo, who earned his first point of the season.
The two goaltenders continued to shine in the second, with Brother Louie turning aside twelve Colorado shots for the second straight period and Berra taking care of the nine he saw from the Cats.
Florida came up with two penalty kills during the frame to maintain its one-goal lead.
The Panthers solved Berra for the second time on an early third period power play with Francois Beauchemin in the box for tripping Jonathan Huberdeau.
After some good puck movement in the offensive zone, Trocheck notched goal number two, taking a sharp cross-ice pass from Dmitry Kulikov and firing it into the back of the back. Campbell picked up the secondary assist on the play.
The Cats added to the lead at 9:49 with another power-play goal. Trocheck was able to get the puck to Jussi Jokinen after taking a hit and Jokinen fed across to Reilly Smith, who found nothing but net with Berra unable to get across in time.
Florida got its final goal while shorthanded. Derek MacKenzie outworked a couple of Avalanche skaters in the corner and got the puck back to Smith.The winger found Campbell open in the slot and he blasted the puck by Berra for his first goal of the campaign with 5:58 left to wrap up a three-point night.
The Avalanche avoided a shutout when Gabriel Landeskog knocked in the rebound of Nikita Zadorov's long shot with 57 seconds to go in the game.
The first game back from a road trip can be tricky (just ask Dallas), but the Panthers maintained their composure and kept the heat on Berra, who stopped 24 shots, and the Avs until they cracked in the third period. Florida is now 3-1 at home this season and can add to that this weekend with Boston and Washington visiting the BB&T Center.
Peaks & Valleys
- It was a perfect night for Florida's special teams. The power play went 3 for 3 while the penalty kill blunted all 5 of Colorado's man-advantage opportunities and produced a back-breaking goal. Wow!
- Jaromir Jagr left the ice late in the first period with the dreaded lower body injury. According to coach Gerard Gallant whatever ails JJ appears to be minor. We've heard that before... Crossing fingers. Losing Jagr and Aleksander Barkov in short order will be tough to overcome.
- Vincent Trocheck's three-point outburst gave him 9 points on the year. That's good for second on the club's scoring list behind Jagr.
- Reilly Smith and Dave Bolland led the Cats in the shots department with four apiece. Smith's play is making me forget all about Jimmy Hayes. Bolland? Well, he came up with two more minor penalties when the game was still up for grabs.
- Props to Colorado defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie. Johnson had a strong game with four shots, three blocks, a hit and two takeaways. Barrie, just back from suspension, fired four shots at Luongo and had a hit.
- Speaking of hits, Alex Petrovic dished out a game-high six of them to go along with two blocks.
- Grizzled veteran Jarome Iginla suited up for the 1400th regular season NHL game of his career.
- Scale Mile High Hockey for the other side of the Panthers fifth win of the season.
- Check out war-on-ice for the advanced stats breakdown of the game.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)