Third Period Rally Not Enough For Panthers

After seven games to open the season that saw the Florida Panthers produce inconsistent effort from night-to-night and even period-to-period, a pleasant trend over the past three games (all at home) is the consistency in work-rate . Tuesday night in Sunrise, the Panthers battled back from a two-goal, third period deficit to force overtime and a shootout but, in the end, the defending Stanley Cup Chicago Blackhawks walked out with a 3-2 SO win.

An entertaining, albeit somewhat sloppy, contest looked it was going to be a comfortable win for the champs as they dominated the scoreboard in the second period. Jonathan Toews tipped in a Duncan Keith pass early in the period to open the game’s scoring on power play. Jonathan Huberdeau was stoned by Corey Crawford four minutes later on a penalty shot after he was hauled down by Michael Handzus. The chance to tie would come back to bite the Panthers as Brian Bickell’s wrister doubled the lead late in the period.

The lack of scoring on the part of the Panthers through the first 40 minutes was certainly not from a lack of opportunity or possession. Getting shots on net, an early problem for Florida, showed up again as Kevin Dineen put it: “We were having a little trouble finding your range. We had our shotguns out. We were spraying them all over the place.”

It took nine minutes into the third but the Cats finally found their range. Aleksander Barkov’s pass to the right hash marks found a wide open Tomas Fleischmann, who buried it for his second on the year. The tying goal would come from Dmitry Kulikov less than three minutes later as he corralled a Keith turnover and fired it over Crawford’s left shoulder. Not only was the goal clutch from the 22 year-old defenseman but helped negate what had been a down game. He took two minor penalties, the second one was cashed in by Chicago on their first goal.

Jacob Markstrom came on to relieve an injured Tim Thomas over the final few minutes of the third and overtime. He stopped the best chance to end the game for Chicago in the extra session in Patrick Kane’s breakaway attempt just before the shootout.

In the skills competition, Toews and Patrick Sharp scored on Markstrom while Huberdeau and Brad Boyes, who were successful in the same situation on Saturday, were stopped by Crawford.

The loss moves the record on this six-game homestand to 1-1-1 with Buffalo, Tampa and St Louis left to visit Sunrise. While it’s disappointing they couldn’t get the two points with all of late momentum, you realize they went up against the best team in hockey and the earned point moves them to within three of third place in the Atlantic Divison.


- Kris Versteeg led all Florida forwards with 19:01 TOI. Rookie Barkov was second with 18:33. Anyone who says the Panther erred in taking him in this June’s draft simply has not watched him play. He has been the Panthers best skater from the first game.

- Brian Campbell played his best defensive game of the season. He was credited with three blocked shots but was even more active in the passing lanes. He wasn’t out of position all night which helped on a night where Kulikov was struggling in his own end.

- Toews owned any Panther in the face-off circle with him in this game. At one point, he was 10/11 and he finished 15/21 (71%). However, the Panthers got the big defensive zone draw wins they didn’t against Boston late the in third that helped keep the pressure off Markstrom.

- As a team, the Panthers were credited with 27 blocked shots. Maybe early shots never even made it to Thomas, a big reason Florida was able to come back and rescue a point.

- As someone who frequently criticizes the music selection played during home Panthers games, I must give credit where credit is due. The Panthers came onto the ice for the second and third periods to Metallica’s cover of Am I Evil? and Slayer’s Raining Blood respectively. I now retire from picking on the music selection. Well done.

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter: Me @davidlasseter, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas,Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like and share anything you wish with us.

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