If there was any time for the Florida Panthers to steal a victory, last was the perfect night to do so. After a horrible road trip that saw them only win one out of three games – easily being overmatched in just about every period (even the game they won), the team returned home to face the Ottawa Senators.
After having to make 20-saves in the first period just to keep his team in the game, goaltender Roberto Luongo found himself down late in the second period after the Senators scored twice to take a 2-0 lead, the Panthers forwards gave their goaltender some relief.
In a span of 23-seconds, Sean Bergenheim scored his 15th goal of the season – quickly followed by Vincent Trocheck’s third to send the game into the third period a tie.
Both team’s put the brakes on the all-out offense in the third, as after the first and second period saw a combined 61-shots made, the two teams only reached 13-total in the final frame.
Both goaltenders were suburb, as Senators’ goaltender Robin Lehner showed why he was one of the highest regarded young goaltenders in the game, finishing the game with 39-saves.
Luongo with 37-of his own, none better than his robbing of Marc Methot on a point blank opportunity that had the Senator’s defender in complete disbelief that he couldn’t beat him.
The third period and overtime frame didn’t solve anything so the team’s went to a shootout to determine who got the extra point – and after beautiful goals by Trocheck and Brandon Pirri, Luongo came up once again huge with the glove hand to ice the game in favor of the Panthers.
Florida play the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, the second game of a brief third game home stand. Despite no shortage of opportunities, Bergenheim’s goal was his first since March 1. In between that game and last night he had a game where he fired 12-shots on net.
The faceoff circle was another area of struggle for the Panthers, as they only won 25-of-61 draws. They won only 40% of their faceoffs on the West Coast trip.
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