Five Panthers Score as Cats Power Past Philadelphia, 5-2

The Florida Panthers moved into second place outright in the Atlantic Tuesday, with the Cats victorious over the Philadelphia Flyers by a 5-2 final.

This marks the Florida Panthers‘ 11th win on the season and their fourth win in the last five. Within that span, this was the least amount of goals the team had given up in a game.

A big part of that was goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky had one of his best periods of the season to close out Saturday night over New York, and continued in that rhythm tonight, delivering a 35-save gem performance.

In four of these last five, Florida have given up the opening goal of the game. Despite a strong start, in which the Cats were outshooting Philadelphia by as much as five, it was the Flyers who put the first goal on the board.

Defenseman Travis Sanheim had space open up on the left side, putting a slap shot through Josh Brown and off the shoulder of Bobrovsky into the top corner. While it was a frustrating one to give up, there wasn’t a lot of time Bobrovsky had to react to the shot, even if he did have a good angle to make a save.

It’s also not sure on how much time the Russian had to see the puck after it was shot. It didn’t look like Bobrovsky knew where the puck was going, despite being set. Regardless, Philadelphia jumped ahead, and the Panthers would have to, again, play from behind.

Instead of panicking, Florida made their own luck and turned the scoreline on its head. Somehow, it was yet again the fourth line to get the comeback started.

Colton Sceviour threw a shot through a seam of traffic, redirecting off a Flyers’ stick in the slot, getting past Carter Hart, putting the team back on level terms.

This was Sceviour’s second goal of the season, and someone who may not have been in on the act on the scoresheet, but was involved was Dominic Toninato. Toninato got in front to provide a screen for the shot, bringing over the defenseman who eventually deflected the puck in.

Speaking of deflections, it would be Brett Connolly putting the puck off the back of Hart’s mask to give Florida their first lead of the night. Connolly drove down the right-wing and pulled the trigger from behind the goal line, catching the young goalie napping. This was Connolly’s second point of the night, putting him on 17 points in 21 games, 16 of which have come at even strength.

This put the Panthers up two one, and after a tad slow of a start to the second period, they eventually pressed the lead to as much as three. Captain Aleksander Barkov, who has also been red-hot of late, got the Panthers’ third, snapping on a blocked shot by Evgenii Dadonov, roofing the puck off the bar and in.

With the goal, Barkov now has 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) across his last nine games. This also made for Barkov’s 6th multi-point game in his last nine when Jonathan Huberdeau turned his pass in, pulling Carter Hart. Huberdeau, who would eventually succumb to a bloody nose after a cross-check by defenseman Philippe Myers, would, is now up to 28 points in 21 games, tied with Patrick Kane for 7th in the NFL.

The Flyers would cut into the deficit through Morgan Frost‘s first NHL goal but ultimately wouldn’t find another goal. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third before Mike Hoffman, who wasn’t particularly good Tuesday night, found the empty net to seal it.

The win is another big step forward in confidence for stars like Barkov, Huberdeau, and Bobrovsky. All three really helped to finish this game off, especially Bobrovsky, who gave up two soft goals in the first two periods.

It was also another solid night defensively for Aaron Ekblad. Despite not getting on the scoreboard, other than one error in the first period which gave Frost a chance, Ekblad was solid throughout the game, really giving Bobrovsky a reliable source of defense.

The Florida Panthers are in action next Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 P.M.!