Recap: Horvat goal gives Canucks 3-2 win over Panthers

Third period continues to trouble winless Cats

The Florida Panthers slow start to the 2018-19 season continued with a 3-2 loss to the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver never led until Bo Horvat scored the eventual game-winning goal 6:11 into the third period.

The Panthers out-shot the Canucks 11-9 in a scoreless first period that saw Anders Nilsson, fresh off a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay, make nice saves on Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman. Florida failed to score on three power-play opportunities.

Huberdeau finally opened the scoring 12:31 into the second period. After taking a pass from Vincent Trocheck, Huberdeau had his initial shot blocked by Alex Edler, but he was able to hustle to the rebound and swat it past Nilsson for his first goal of the season. Denis Malgin, bumped up to the second line, drew the second assist on the play.

The Canucks countered 2:31 later when Sven Baertschi shook off Mark Pysyk and went cross ice to rookie Elias Pettersson and he beat James Reimer with a wrister from the right circle. Brock Boeser picked up the second helper on Pettersson’s fifth goal.

The Panthers retook the lead at the 17:20 mark, just moments after a penalty to Derrick Pouliot expired. After Nilsson stopped Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov was able to hack the puck back to Hoffman, who quickly went to Keith Yandle, and he teed up Trocheck for a successful one-time blast from the left circle.

Defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich, making his NHL debut for the Cats, hooked Antoine Roussel, making his Vancouver debut, at 18:15 and the veteran forward was awarded a penalty shot. Roussel cut in from the left side and put the puck by Reimer to tie the game at two.  Reimer entered the game 3-for-4 on penalty shots.

Reimer bounced back to foil some good scoring chances early in the third period, but he couldn’t stop Horvat, who worked a give-and-go with Baertschi to gain entry into the Florida zone. Baertschi got behind Mike Matheson and whipped the puck over Horvat who easily converted the hard backhand dish. Edler collected the second assist on the goal that  allowed Vancouver to sweep the two-game Florida trip for the first time since November 2002.

The Cats were only able to muster seven shots in the final frame and unable to send the game to overtime to gain at least a point. The Cats remain winless at 0-2-1, suffering three straight one-goal losses. So much for getting off to a fast start.

Florida has yet to score in the third period this season, and gave up the game-tying goal in the third against the Lightning, before losing in a shootout, and the decisive goal with 2:46 left in the 5-4 loss to Columbus. This, coupled with an inability to build on leads, is a losing recipe. And oh yeah... Florida went 0-for-5 on the power play and is now 0-for-12 on the season.