Recap: Road weary Panthers slip by Canucks 2-1 in shootout

Knight and Barkov help Cats to second straight away win

Spencer Knight made 27 saves, Samson Reinhart scored in the third period and Anton Lundell and Aleksander Barkov converted in the shootout to give the weary Florida Panthers a hard-fought 2-1 win over the depleted Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

Knight got the best of 26-year-old journeyman Spencer Martin in the first battle of goaltenders named Spencer in NHL history. Martin made 33 stops in just his fourth NHL appearance and first since February 1, 2017 when he was a member of the Colorado Avalanche.

Both team scored power-plays goal in regulation.

Vancouver got its only goal with 3:42 left in the opening frame when Tanner Pearson delfected Quinn Hughes’ shot from the point off Alex Chiasson’s toso and by Knight. It was just the fourth Canucks shot on goal of the period.

The Panthers finally countered 1:41 into the third with Nils Hoglander off for tripping Brandon Mountour. Jonathan Huberdeau crossed to Anthony Duclair, and it looked like he was trying to find Barkov in the slot, Fortuitously, the pass deflected off the sticks of Tucker Poolman and Matthew Highmore and ended up on Reinhart’s blade in front and he quickly swatted it in for his 12th of the season.

After Brock Boeser opened the shootout with a goal, Finnish freshman Lundell countered in the bottom of the second round.

Knight then stopped Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to set the stage for Barkov’s backhand winner.

By taking the back-to-back over Edmonton and Vancouver, the Panthers won consecutive games on the road for the first time since late October. Hats off to the team, playing its third in four nights, for finding a way to win and to Knight for rebounding from a lackluster outing in the trip-opener in Calgary. The victory, coupled with Tampa Bay’s 5-1 loss in Anaheim, gives the Cats a league-leading 61 points and a two-point lead over the Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. Florida will get a much-needed day off before playing its first-ever game at Climate Pledge Arena against the expansion Seattle Kraken on Sunday night.

Orcas & Seas

  • The Panthers became the first team to crack 60 points this season and Jonathan Huberdeau became the first player to reach 40 assists. Huberdeau tops the NHL in that category and is second in the league in scoring, just one point behind Alex Ovechkin.
  • Other hot Cats: Sam Reinhart has nine points (3G/6A) in his past six games. Anthony Duclair has put up 15 points (8G/7A) in his past 12.
  • Florida is now 10-1-1 since returning from the holiday break while Vancouver fell to 10-3-2 under new coach Bruce Boudreau. Two of those five losses are to the Panthers.
  • Spencer Knight collected his eighth win of the season and lowered his GAA to 3.31. Knight has won two of his last three starts as he tries to solidify his hold on the backup spot. Spencer Martin dropped to 0-2-2 all-time. Hopefully, he gets another chance to pick up his first NHL win.
  • Nils Hoglander, whose penalty led to Florida’s regulation time marker, matched Brandon Montour with a game-high six shots on goal.
  • For more on the Panthers season-series sweep of Vancouver, visit Nucks Misconduct./

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