The Florida Panthers came back from a two goal third period deficit to send the game to overtime where they eventually defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout. Sean Bergenehim and Nick Bjugstad scored third period goals for the Panthers while Aleksander Barkov and Brad Boyes scored in the shootout en rout to the victory.
The Panthers have now beaten the Red Wings twice in a span of four days, the win tonight coming after a 2-1 Panthers win in Detroit on Saturday. It is the first time since 1996 that they have taken two in a row against the Wings.
Detroit doubled their lead at 6:47 into the second when Jonathan Ericsson found a wide open Pavel Datsyuk in front of the Panther net. Datsyuk slotted the puck into the empty net for his 13th of the season. In his first game back since missing the last seven with a concussion, Datsyuk tallied one goal and one assist.
The Red Wings had ample opportunities to extend their lead in the second but Tim Thomas came up with a number of huge stops to keep the Panthers within two. Thomas finished the game with 24 saves on 26 shots faced and also stopped two of the three shots he faced in the shootout. Thomas was helped out early in the first when an apparent Red Wings goal was called back for goalie interference. Replays showed little interference on the play and instead highlighted a superb acting job by Thomas.
The Panthers finally got on the board at 5:00 into the third when Sean Bergenheim deflected a harmless Dmitry Kulikov wrist shot through Jimmy Howard‘s legs. The goal was Bergenheim’s third of the year and he was assisted by Kulikov (4) and Aleksander Barkov (7).
The Panthers tied the game at 14:38 in the third when Nick Bjugstad converted a beautiful goal that has to be the Panthers’ front runner for goal of the year. With the puck in the Red Wing’s corner Bjugstad fought off Datsyuk along the goal line and roofed it over Howard’s shoulder. The goal was Bjugstad’s fifth and he was assisted by Dylan Olsen (4) and Erik Gudbranson (5). With the assist Olsen extended his scoring streak to four games. In his first eight games with Florida, Olsen has tallied six points (2G, 4A). Here is a look at Bjugstad’s beauty:
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to the shootout where the Panthers deployed the highly skilled trio of Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes. Barkov and Boyes each converted their attempts and Huberdeau just missed finishing on a pretty spin-o-rama. Boyes was back in the lineup after being benched in Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks. Tomas Tatar was the only Red Wing to solve Tim Thomas in the shootout and the Panthers skated away with their third win in their last four games.
In his return to South Florida, Stephen Weiss recorded zero points and logged 15:56 TOI. The Panthers honored his time in Florida with a first period tribute.
With the win the Panthers improve to 10-17-5 on the season while the Wings fall to 15-9-8. Florida is back in action Friday night when the Washington Capitals come to town.