Panthers end road trip with 3-1 win over Avalanche

Cats claw their way back over .500

After a tough start in St. Paul, the Florida Panthers came away with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche to finish up its three-game road trip with a 1-1-1 record.

Goalies James Reimer and Calvin Pickard kept the cautiously played tilt scoreless until the Avalanche broker through on a Fedor Tyutin goal midway through the second period.

Tyutin’s just got a one-timer through Reimer at the 10:11 mark after taking a nice cross-ice pass from Nathan MacKinnon. Matt Duchene drew the second assist on the veteran defenseman’s first of the year.

The Panthers tied the game at 16:10 when Jasom Demers knocked his own rebound by Pickard for his fifth goal to cap off a pretty passing play involving Seth Griffith and Aleksander Barkov.

Reilly Smith, who has been heating up lately,  delivered the eventual game-winner at 6:37 of the third.  Smith chased down the puck after Derek MacKenzie cleared it from the Florida zone and broke in on Pickard before deftly backhanding the puck between his legs. Jason Demers picked up his second point of the night with secondary assist.

The Cats went up by two 4:12 later when Michael Matheson sent a wrist shot from the point by Pickard’s glove after he took a bounce pass off the boards from Colton Scevior. Mark Pysyk got the second assist after coming down low behind the net and digging the puck out for Sceviour.

The win moved the Panthers within two points of both second place Ottawa and third place Boston, The Senators have two played two less games than both the Cats and Bruins.  Florida returns home for a five-game holiday season homestand that with a successful run, could actually see them back in a playoff spot.

Peaks & Valleys

  • James Reimer made his first start in ten days and evened his record at 4-4-2 with a 30-save performance. Reimer upped his career mark against the Avs to 5-0-1.
  • In addition to delivering the game-winning goal, Florida’s penalty kill went a perfect six for six on the night.
  • He didn’t get a point, but 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr didn’t seemed bothered by the altitude or playing the second of a back-to-back. Jagr led all skaters with five shots on goal.
  • Seth Griffith has now posted an assist in three of the four games since his promotion to the first line alongside Jagr and Aleksander Barkov.
  • Calvin Pickard finished with 20 saves for Colorado, which dropped to 4-10-1 at Pepsi Center.
  • Reilly Smith scored two goals and added two assists during the three-game trek.
  • For more on Florida’s Rocky Mountain high, check out Mile Hockey Hockey./