Heading over to the big apple to take on the New York Rangers, the Florida Panthers were looking to snap their two-game losing skid.
The Florida Panthers got off to a slow start, pinned in their own end during the early moments of the first. The Rangers were pressing hard and were also defending their own blue line very tightly, meeting and stripping the puck off the Panthers with aggression.
It didn’t take long for the Rangers to get on the board first through Ryan Lindgren. A play that was sprung beautifully by Artemi Panarin was finished off by Lindgren, who buried his shot after Ryan Strome found him from the other side of Sam Montembeault‘s crease.
Soon after, the Panthers finally woke up and took matters into their own hands, regaining ultimate momentum of the game. They finally pressed with a level of urgency, which resulted in New York scrambling around their zone.
Their pressure was too much for the home side as they took an ill-advised penalty when Ryan Strome tripped up Mike Matheson, sending the Cats to their first power play of the afternoon.
Florida created some good looks on the opportunity, especially from their first unit, but Henrik Lundqvist was able to see (and stop) them all, denying the Panthers on their initial man advantage.
The Panthers continued pressing in hopes to find an equalizer before the horn sounded. Thankfully, they found it through captain Aleksander Barkov after he made a nifty move on Jesper Fast and snapped a quick shot past Lundqvist to tie the game at one.
Moments later and the Cats took their first lead of the game thanks to Dominic Toninato. Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar both played catch up at the point, with Weegar taking a slap-shot that was denied by a Lundqvist pad save.
Florida would head into the locker room after one with a 2-1 lead. Given the slow start that occurred, the Panthers brilliantly responded throughout the course of the opening twenty minutes.
Like the first, the Rangers got on the board early on to kick-off the second. This time, it was Filip Chytil who joined in on the scoring act. This goal really opened up the floodgates for the second as Aaron Ekblad drew a call when Ryan Strome hooked him in his own zone, sending the Panthers to their second power play of the game.
The game took an unexpected turn when Brady Skjei levelled the Rangers once more, bringing life to the MSG crowd. Skjei rushed down the ice and squeezed a backhand shot through Montembeault’s armpit to even the game at three goals apiece.
Luckily, the Panthers found an equalizer of their own when Evgenii Dadonov beautifully sprung Frank Vatrano on a breakaway – off a Superman-style pass – which Vatrano sniped bar down to add to this never-ending goal-fest.
Defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, unfortunately, took a shot up high which hit his face cleanly and sent him down, forced to go to the locker room for some cleanup.
The Panthers committed a couple of penalties consecutively, but it was Brett Connolly‘s that they were unable to kill. After successfully clearing off Matheson’s call, the Rangers were right back on the man advantage after Connolly took a seat for a hook.
The Rangers wasted no time as forward Chris Kreider tipped a shot from the point, giving the Rangers a 5-4 lead which they would take with them heading into the dressing room after two periods of play.
In the third, the Panthers found it difficult to get anything going in the Rangers’ end. The Rangers were playing a tight line, emphasizing the elimination of all Panther entries into their zone.
Sam Montembeault was faced with a few difficult shots before the third period ended, but turned them all aside in comfortable fashion. Sixty minutes wasn’t enough to decide a winner as the game was headed for 3-on-3 overtime.
In overtime, both teams exchanged high-danger chances at both ends of the ice but it was Lundqvist and Montembeault who both stood stall for their respective sides. Like regulation, overtime wasn’t enough to draw a winner, so the shootout was up next to decide the winner of this ten-goal outing.
In the shootout, Montembeault beautifully denied Panarin – the opening shooter – with a solid pad save while down on the ice. Frank Vatrano stepped up next and scored his second on Lundqvist to give Florida the first lead of the shootout.
Tony DeAngelo hit the post and Aleksander Barkov was brilliantly denied by Lundqvist to send the shootout into the third round. In a must-score situation, Kaapo Kakko stepped up and buried a backhand shot to extend the shootout.
With a chance to win the game on the next shot, Vincent Trocheck drove in wide and ripped a shot short-side past Lundqvist to send the Panthers to a 6-5 shootout victory over the New York Rangers, snapping their two-game losing streak.
It certainly wasn’t the Panthers’ best performance by any stretch, but they managed to hang in there and find a way despite playing really sloppy hockey during this afternoon’s meeting.
Your Panthers are back in action on Tuesday, November. 12 @ 7 P.M. against the Boston Bruins.