The Florida Panthers came into this game with one thing in mind: snapping their three-game losing skid.
Florida couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, lighting the lamp 16 seconds into the hockey game.
The first line came storming into the Devils’ zone, immediately taking control early on. Aleksander Barkov sent a pass around the boards to Evgenii Dadonov, who then centered it over to Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau redirected the pass to give the Panthers an early lead.
Unfortunately, the Cats let their foots off the pedal and allowed the Devils back in the game. Off poor defensive coverage, Taylor Hall was allowed to walk in, set up, and wire a wrister past Sergei Bobrovsky to level the game at one.
Later in the period, though, the Devils found their first lead of the game, courtesy of Jesper Bratt. After a couple of Panthers blew their defensive assignments, Bratt walked in unmarked and fired a backhand shot top-shelf to give New Jersey the lead heading into the dressing room.
Early in the second, the Devils picked up where they left off in play and doubled their lead. Defenseman Will Butcher sniped a shot from the point over Bobrovsky to tack another one on for the home side.
The Panthers tried fighting back after going three goals down, but they were preoccupied with killing two consecutive penalties – which they successfully killed off.
Right after a power play of their own – in which Sami Vatanen hooked Aleksander Barkov – Frank Vatrano centered a pass to Brett Connolly in the slot, who sniped a shot top-shelf to cut the Devils’ lead in half (4-2), marking his first goal as a Panther.
The Cats continued fighting later in the period and found a third goal through none other than from Brett Connolly again.
Hoffman and Connolly both broke down the ice and entered into Devils territory with under 15 seconds remaining. Hoffman dropped the puck behind to Connolly, in which Connolly wristed a shot into the top corner to bring new life to the game (4-3).
The Panthers would return to the dressing room down a goal (again), like the first. The only difference was they had some catching up to do after going down three goals early on.
The Cats sealed the deal when they were handed a four-minute power play when Weegar took a high-stick under his visor, drawing blood.
The Panthers would end up holding on and winning by a score of 6-4 over the winless New Jersey Devils. This win marked their second of the season.
Despite a really poor defensive showing when going down 4-1, the Cats rallied back strong and didn’t fold when the game looked out of reach.
Of course, there’s still lots to work on and address – especially defensively – but it was nice to see the boys come back after leaving Bobrovsky hanging on all four goals allowed.
Your Panthers are back in action on Friday, October. 18 @ 7 P.M. against the Colorado Avalanche at home. Be sure to tune in as the Cats look to build off this performance and go for two consecutive victories.