Florida Panthers Post-Game Recap: Game # 64 vs. the Ottawa Senators:
The Panthers were coming off of their 4–3 win against the Montreal Canadiens, and were looking to continue their fantastic road stretch. Florida had been 8–1–1 in their last 10 road games coming into tonight’s game. The Panthers would give Bobrovsky the start tonight, his first game action in over two weeks after recovering from a puck hitting him in the face while on the bench as well as recovering from the flu. Ottawa would start Anton Forsberg in net.
Florida came out flying in this game, opening the game out-shooting Ottawa 5–0 within the first five minutes of the game. At around the eight minute mark of the game Radko Gudas would attempt to hold a puck in at the Ottawa blue line, and a very unfortunate bounce led to an Ottawa breakaway which Alex Formenton buried past Bobrovsky. It was Ottawa’s third shot of the game, and they would take the early 1–0 lead. The referee's would miss Mason Marchment of Florida taking a high-stick to the face along the boards, and would then miss a tripping call against Noel Acciari. Shortly after the missed tripping call, Ottawa’s Artem Zub (who committed the tripping infraction) would skate in and get two clean shots against Bobrovsky, burying the second one off a rebound to give Ottawa the 2–0 lead. The Panthers would be behind the 8-ball early in this game, with no help coming from the refs. They would head into the first intermission down 2–0 with a lot of work to do to get back into this game.
The second period was a little better for the Panthers, both offensively and officiating. However early on in the period, Weegar would turn the puck over in the Panthers zone in brutal fashion, and Dylan Gambrell would squeak the puck under Bobrovsky’s legs to bring the Ottawa lead to 3–0. The refs would finally call a penalty against Ottawa about halfway through the period, and Duclair would score on the ensuing Power Play to bring Florida within two goals. Just over a minute later, Florida’s Patric Hornqvist would score off of the back of the Senators’ goalie Forsberg to bring the Panthers within a single goal. The Panthers were looking to scratch their way back into this game, and they would need a solid third period effort to get it done. They went into the second intermission down 3–2.
Ottawa would tighten up feverishly in the third period. They would be doing anything just to keep the puck out of their zone, even if it meant dumping it down the ice just to waste time on the clock. Florida would ultimately out-shoot the Senators 15–4 in the final frame, before the captain Aleksander Barkov was able to force a shot through from the point while Florida’s net was empty to tie the game 3–3 with just over two minutes to go in regulation. Florida would complete the 3-goal comeback as we’ve been so accustomed to seeing with them this season to force overtime.
The 3-on-3 overtime period had just about everything you could ask for as a hockey fan. There were breakaways, long stretch-passes, speed, puck-handling, both teams were bringing everything they had. Florida would take a penalty late in the overtime, as Mackenzie Weegar would be called for hooking with about 1:25 remaining in the overtime period. The Panthers would kill off the penalty, and both teams would head to the shootout.
In the shootout Ottawa had the first chance, and Josh Norris couldn’t put it past Bobrovsky. Florida would start their shootout with newly acquired Claude Giroux, who has been one of the best shootout participants in the league his entire career. Giroux would bobble his attempt while still getting a shot on Forsberg, but Forsberg would close the door on him and keep the puck out. Tim Stutzle would then take the chance for Ottawa in the second round, and he would be stopped by Bobrovsky. Barkov would shoot second for Florida, and he’d bury a beautiful backhanded shot top-shelf past Forsberg to bring Florida ahead 1–0 in the shootout. All the Panthers would need is another stop from Bobrovsky to secure the extra point in the standings, and they would get it as Bob would shut the door on Brady Tkachuk to win it for the Cats 4–3 in the shootout.
Major props to Ottawa, especially Forsberg, for the hard-fought battle tonight. The Panthers would outshoot Ottawa 49–22 for the game, and without Forsberg it wouldn’t have even been close. Florida manages to escape Ottawa with the win, and will now go into Toronto to face the Maple Leafs tomorrow night. That game starts at 7 PM ET.
- 1–0 (OTT): Alex Formenton (15) at 7:54, assisted by Michael Del Zotto (7)
- 2–0 (OTT): Artem Zub (5) at 15:26, assisted by Josh Norris (12) and Drake Batherson (22)
- 3–0 (OTT): Dylan Gambrell (2) at 6:47, assisted by Tyler Ennis (15)
- 3–1 (FLA): Anthony Duclair (26)(PPG) at 8:55, assisted by Claude Giroux (27) and Sam Reinhart (38)
- 3–2 (FLA): Patric Hornqvist (10) at 9:57, assisted by Gustav Forsling (23) and Noel Acciari (4)
- 3–3 (FLA): Aleksander Barkov (28) at 17:44, assisted by Jonathan Huberdeau (68) and Claude Giroux (28)
- No Scoring
- 1 - (OTT): Josh Norris — SAVE (0–0)
- 2 - (FLA): Claude Giroux — SAVE (0–0)
- 3 - (OTT): Tim Stutzle — MISS (0–0)
- 4 - (FLA): Aleksander Barkov — SCORE (1–0 FLA)
- 5 - (OTT): Brady Tkachuk — SAVE (1–0 FLA WIN)