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Recap: Lomberg, Barkov score in Panthers 2-1 victory over Golden Knights

The Florida Panthers kept pace with the Eastern Conference’s two wild cards with a tense 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights at FLA Live Arena.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 of 32 shots to earn his 20th win of the season. It’s the tenth time the 34-year-old keeper has hit that plateau in his NHL career.

Florida started fast and took an early lead when Ryan Lomberg lit the lamp at the 4:25 mark. After Anton Lundell pressured Shea Theodore, he turned the puck over to Josh Mahura. Mahura passed Lomberg in the high slot and he snapped a quick wrist shot past Adin Hill to equal his career-high of nine goals.

The Panthers solved Hill for the final time 4:05 into the second. Nick Cousins retrieved a loose puck down low and fed in front to Anthony Duclair, who passed over to Aleksander Barkov for what turned out to be the game-winner. Cousins’ assist was the 100th of his career.

Theodore would atone for his earlier mistake with a power-play blast from up high with the assists going to Jack Eichel and Reilly Smith at 13:23 after the Cats got called for too many men on the ice. Eichel’s helper gave him 15 points in his past 12 games.

Bobrovsky would go on to stop the final 18 shots from the Golden Knights, including all ten in the final frame to guide the Cats to their second win on this crucial seven-game homestand, which started with a loss to Nashville.

The win put the Panthers five games above NHL .500 for the first time this season. Florida played well throughout, but it was a little disappointing they couldn’t score more and put the game way earlier. The Cats hit the 70-point mark, moving past Buffalo and Ottawa, and remained within striking distance of the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, who both won last night.

Swords & Tequila

  • Positive results against Pittsburgh and Vegas gave Florida back-to-back victories for the first time since early February when they built their only three-game winning streak of the campaign.
  • The Cats snapped the Golden Knights three-game winning streak and handed Vegas its first loss in regulation when giving up two or fewer goals.
  • Nice to see Ryan Lomberg earn First Star honors for his efforts. In addition to opening the scoring, Lomberg was credited with four shots, three hits and a block in 10:37 TOI.
  • Adin Hill delivered a high-quality start for the Golden Knights, finishing with 40 saves. Hill was particularly strong in the first to keep the game from getting out of hand.
  • Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, Eric Staal, Shea Theodore and former Panther Jonathan Marchessault each had a game-high five shots on goal.
  • The Panthers and Golden Knights split the season series. Read more about it at Knights On Ice./