The Florida Panthers were taking on the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, looking to create a two-game win streak for the first time this season.
Both sides exchanged a few more chances throughout the opening twenty minutes, but neither were able to break the deadlock, sending them into the locker room tied at zero after one.
In the second, Sidney Crosby came rushing down the ice on a 2-on-1 and fired a blistering shot, which Bobrovsky snagged with a piece of his glove.
The Cats later created a little scramble in front of Matt Murray’s cage, with a loose puck sitting near the netminder’s crease. Jonathan Huberdeau kicked it with his skate – which went through Murray’s five-hole – but a Penguin was on it to kick it off the goal line.
Moments later, Noel Acciari opened up the scoring after the shot that he threw on goal hit Murray’s arm, went straight up into the air, and fell into the back of the net to give the Panthers a one-goal lead.
Less than two minutes later and the Penguins found an equalizer. Breaking down the ice on an odd-man rush, Teddy Blueger played the 2-on-1 beautifully, using Jake Guentzel as his screen to get loose on goal, tapping the puck into the empty cage.
In response, the Panthers quickly gained momentum back and had a dominating shift by their third line which saw some beautiful chances created, but no finish.
Before Malgin put the Panthers ahead, Aleksander Barkov skated off hunched over as he was knocked awkwardly. A shift later, Barkov was seen on the ice but appeared to have shaken it off.
Just before the second period ended, Patric Hornqvist knocked down MacKenzie Weegar, sending the Panthers to their first man advantage of the game. The Cats didn’t have enough time to fully set up, but 1:29 of the remaining power play was to carry over to start the third.
Unfortunately, the power play didn’t go as expected, as the Panthers failed to set up in the Penguins’ end. Brian Boyle did have a chance to add to the Panthers’ lead when he tipped Vatrano’s initial shot out of mid-air, but Murray was there to deny him.
The Cats, and their third line, continued to hover as they were seeking for a two-goal cushion. They came close a couple of times, but yet again, Murray shut the door tight.
Mike Matheson, who left the game after blocking a shot in the second, didn’t appear to be on the bench, nor returned to the ice since leaving. That loss to the back end shortened Florida’s bench even more.
Despite that, the Panthers managed to stay afloat after Jonathan Huberdeau gave them a much-needed two-goal advantage. His tip couldn’t have come at a better time, let me tell you…
Unfortunately, like Pittsburgh’s first goal, the Pens responded in a similar fashion, cutting Florida’s lead down to one moments after Huberdeau’s goal. Patric Hornqvist was the culprit…
What was impressive, however, is how the Cats managed to respond after the Penguins trimmed their lead. Florida didn’t back off, nor did they sit back, and they pushed for a fourth that would win them the game.
Thanks to Frank Vatrano, the Panthers regained their two-goal advantage and went on to win by a score of 4-2 to extend their winning streak to two.
Considering that Florida was without Aaron Ekblad (illness), Vincent Trocheck (injury), and Mike Matheson – who went down in the second and didn’t return – they played a really solid game, especially for sixty minutes.
As the season progresses, hopefully the Panthers can build off these types of results. It seems like the players are starting to buy into Quenneville’s systems, looking more comfortable in result.
Your Florida Panthers are back in action on Thursday, October. 24 @ 9 P.M. against the Calgary Flames to kick-off their first of a four-game western road trip.