Florida Panthers Scratch Out A Point Against Pittsburgh Penguins


Oct 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save against Florida Panthers center Dave Bolland (63) during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers played the first 49 minutes against the Pittsburgh Penguins in utter frustration.  The Penguins were up 2-0, had all the good scoring chances, and the referees made two nauseating calls that had enormous negative ramifications for the Panthers.

The first referee job came from at 1:16 of the third period, where it looked as if Reilly Smith deflected a Brian Campbell slapshot past Marc-Andre Fleury.  The referee in the zone called it a good goal, but at some point before the referee went on the horn to Toronto, the “official call” changed to it being “no goal”.  There were no good angles to overturn this claim, and the NHL officials ruled after review that the “call on the ice stood”.  Meaning “no goal”.  Oy!

Then, only a minute-and-a-half later, the Penguins scored their own controversial goal, courtesy of Phil Kessel.  Off a Rob Scuderi shot, Kessel appeared to knock the puck down to his feet in front of the net using a high stick.  He would finish the play after swiping at the loose puck, but Gerard Gallant and the Panthers demanded a review.  Alas, the referees would not entertain the notion of a review despite heavily reviewing and taking away another goal, so the Panthers found themselves down two goals.

But the Panthers fourth line would get to work, and Quinton Howden and Derek MacKenzie scored two huge goals that eluded the rest of the team.

The first, from Howden, was a clever move in front of the net to pull the puck into a shooting position.  Kris Letang could not stop Howden from wristing the puck past a helpless Fleury.

The second goal, coming off MacKenzie’s stick, came from a great offensive flurry from the fourth line, as they threw puck after puck at Fleury.  Finally, after multiple shots, the puck made its way off the end-boards and onto MacKenzie’s stick in the slot, who made no mistake.  Fleury couldn’t pick up the location of the puck, and was completely out of position when the shot hit the twine.

Coincidence alert?  Connor Brickley had the primary assist on both Panther goals.  He’s up to three points now in five games in the lineup (despite only playing more than 10 minutes in a game once).

The Panthers would go to the bitter end in regulation, before an untimely Jonathan Huberdeau boarding call put the team in a terrible situation:

Maybe there was a bit of simulation involved from Brian Dumoulin, but I wouldn’t consider Huberdeau’s hit to be either safe or legal or at all thoughtful.  Especially since it came at 19:35 of the third period.  But was it really worse than this non-call against Kris Letang in the second period?  It’s practically suspend-able:

The Panthers made it into overtime to grab a point, but that was all they were going to get against the Penguins.  The 4-on-3 set-up of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang is not, nor was not fair.  Malkin netted the game-winner at 1:21 of the overtime period, and that was all she wrote.

OR WAS IT?  Gerard Gallant surprised everybody by challenging the Penguins’ goal; namely, whether Crosby entered the zone offsides before the goal was scored.  It would’ve been a hilarious comedown in the Consul Energy Arena if Crosby was indeed offsides and the winning goal was taken off the board, but that was regrettably not the case.  The refs confirmed Crosby’s legal entry, and that was actually all she wrote.

Let’s all take a deep breath and talk about what went right and wrong for the Panthers Tuesday night.


More fourth line magic.  Brickley, Howden, and MacKenzie are the best fourth line the Panthers can put forth, end of discussion.  Any other fourth line subtracts from the team’s effectiveness.  For the love of God, let’s just role with this!

Luuuuuuuuu.  Luongo came up huge for the Panthers, especially in the first two periods.  The Panthers were completely outplayed in front of him, and Luongo kept his team in the game while they figured out how to score

Team tenacity.  The terrible calls could’ve derailed another Panthers team, but this one stayed focused and got the goals they needed to earn a point.  The best teams in the league know how to overcome crap, and that’s what the Panthers did in Pittsburgh.


Another incomplete game.  The first and second periods were rough, to be kind.  The Panthers chased the Penguins around the ice, committed dumb penalties, and couldn’t tie passes together.  Florida did not look like they had the talent to keep up with the Penguins for far too much the game.  The 60-minute effort needs to show up again for the Panthers.

Untimely penalties.  With Crosby struggling coming into the game, the last thing the Panthers should’ve done was commit a bad penalty early in the game to give him a chance to fire away at Luongo.  Well the Panthers did that, Crosby didn’t miss, and they were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game.  And when the Panthers did catch up, Huberdeau boarded the $#*% out of a Penguin near the end of the game.  Penalties are a fact of hockey, but the Panthers needed to pick their spots better.

Crap refereeing.  It sucked!

Next: Florida Panthers: 3 Keys to Making the Postseason

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