Recap; Barkov shootout winner gives Panthers 2-1 decision over Wild

Sergei Bobrovsky stops 27 shots to collect 15th win

The Florida Panthers dug deep to open its four-game road trip with a 2-1 shootout win over the equally desperate Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

After a scoreless first period that saw the Cats outshoot the Wild 18-10, Eetu Luostarinen opened the scoring when he deflected Gustav Forsling’s point shot past Filip Gustavsson 1:06 into the second. Props to Nick Cousins, who maintained possession after taking a pass from Ryan Lomberg down low before feeding back to Forsling.

Kirill Kaprizov equalized at 5:15 when he took a drop pass from Mats Zuccarello in the crowded slot, cut over into the left circle and beat Bobrovsky up high on the stick-side. Calen Addison drew the secondary assist on the goal, which Kaprizov’s  team-leading30th.

Despite the teams getting power-play chances in the third (3 for Florida, 2 for Minnesota), neither could score one that counted, Brandon Montour had a goal waved off thanks to Matthew Tkachuk’s elbow, so the game went to to overtime.

The Wild held the Panthers without a shot while Bobrovsky made big stops on Kaprizov and Jonas Brodin before robbing Jared Spurgeon with 13 seconds left. Montour got one by Gustavsson again, but his shot didn’t beat the buzzer.

Zuccarello opened the shootout with a conversion which was nastily answered by Anton Lundell in the bottom of round one.

After Bobrovsky denied Kaprizov to start the second round, Barkov solved Gustavsson with a sweet backhand finish to put the Cats ahead.

Bobrovsky ended it with a blocker save on Frederick Gaudreau to give the Panthers the much-needed extra point.

After going 0-for-4 on the power play in Saturday’s loss to Colorado, the Panthers managed to grind out a key win despite going 0-for-7 against the Wild. The Cats penalty kill made up for it with a perfect 5-for-5 performance. Florida also overcame rough night in the faceoff department to close within a point of the Pittsburgh Penguins and two points of the Washington Capitals. Yeah, those teams hold games in hand, but mission accomplished. Two points secured. The Panthers get right back at it tonight in St. Louis.

Spiders & Snakes

  • Eetu Luostarinen’s goal gave him 26 points (12G/14A) in 56 games, matching the career high he set last season in 78 games. Luostarinen finished with two shots and a block in 12:01 TOI.
  • Kirill Kaprizov is the third player in Wild history to have back-to-back 30-goal campaigns, joining Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston, who each did it in three consecutive seasons.
  • After picking up points in ten games in a row, Brandon Montour has been held off the score sheet in three straight. Montour, who registered a game-high seven shots, had to be frustrated after having two go by Filip Gustavsson, but not count.
  • Speaking of Gustavsson the goalie, he finished the game with 33 saves on 34 shots.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky made up 27 saves and picked up his 15th win of the season. Bobrovsky, who has started Florida last four games, will likely serve as the backup in St. Louis.
  • Milestone night for Minnesota forward Ryan Reaves, who played in his 800th NHL game. Congrats, tough guy!
  • The Panthers swept the season series against the Wild, who did get a point. Read more about it at Hockey Wilderness./