Sunrise, FL – This was one of those games where you weren’t sure what the Florida Panthers were going to do. Win, lose? Fly, fall? Slap shot, get slapped? These guys are an emotional roller coaster. The problem is that you usually end up living out the lows more than the highs.
The Cats got off to an early deficit, allowing a 1st-period even-strength goal just five minutes into the game. They opened up the 2nd period in the exact same manner, finding themselves down 2-0 early in the 2nd period. However, riddle me this: Who’s your Cat Daddy? Evgenii Dadonov came back a couple of minutes later off a Jayce Hawryluk assist to get that Cats right back into the game. All of a sudden it was like mom yelled out, “Dinner’s ready!” Carolina didn’t know what hit them. In less than a five-minute window, the Panthers scored three goals! The 2nd came off a Jonathan Huberdeau, Dadonov connection, finished by Captain Aleksander Barkov. The scoring run was capped off by a Huberdeau goal, assisted by Mike Hoffman and Cap’n Barky. 3-2.
How bout a #HubySnack?! @JonnyHuby11 gives the Cats the lead, scoring his 16th of the season! The @FlaPanthers lead the @NHLCanes 3-2, scoring all three in a 5-minute window. 😱#FlaPanthers #OneTerritory 😼 pic.twitter.com/XO93jSan7m
— Lemon City Live (@LemonCityLive) February 22, 2019
For a five-minute span, the Panthers looked like the best team in the NHL. And undoubtedly, Dadonov, Barkov, and Huberdeau were the best players on the ice for the Panthers today. They each scored and assisted on each other’s goals. However, some careless mistakes ruined their night. Florida gave away the puck more times than Carolina: 15-11. They also allowed Carolina to execute three more powerplays.
Carolina scored their final two goals on powerplays, so needless penalties are sure to blame here. Carolina could’ve added to their tally when the referee somehow decided to send Huberdeau to the penalty box for holding, while also sending Frank Vatrano to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct… Really, dude? This is hockey. They fight. Get that soft shit out of here, and let the boys play! I’m sure Coach Bob Boughner shares my sentiments, as he was quoted saying, “…3-2 going into the 3rd, and then it’s a penalty-fest again. I mean, it’s a shame, and just let the players play…”.
The Panthers pulled off the two-minute penalty kill and had some pucks that should’ve found the back of the net after that, hitting the post, dancing on the line, but it wasn’t meant to be. Carolina would get the 4-3 W on the road in a crucial game for playoff hopes. They currently hold the final playoff spot. The Panthers are 10 points behind them with Philly, Buffalo, and Columbus also ahead of them, fighting for that final spot. Next up, the Panthers host the Los Angeles Kings, this Cat-urday, February 23rd. Puck drops at 5 PM.
- The Panthers are one of only six teams this season to have four 20-goal scorers thus far. Barkov (24), Vatrano (20), Hoffman (26), Dadonov (21).
- Today’s loss snaps a 3-game home winning streak.
📷Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports