SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers stumbled out of the gate hard and it cost them against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Even with reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar out of the lineup, the Colorado Avalanche dominated early, jumping out to a 12-4 lead in shots on goal.
Colorado ended up leading by two goals at the end of each of the first two periods as the Panthers could not come all the way back in a 5-3 loss.
The loss snapped Florida’s three-game winning streak.
“We did not get the start we wanted, they dominated us in the first period,” Sasha Barkov said.
“I don’t know what happened there, but we came back and played a solid game at the end. We just did not get the goal or get the win at the end.”
When the Panthers got their chance on the power play, it was Colorado who took advantage of a Florida miscue and jumped ahead with a shorthanded goal.
Another goal 5-on-5 gave the Avalanche a comfortable cushion heading into the second period.
The Panthers found their chance to pounce back into the game — with Aaron Ekblad and Sam Bennett scoring goals 35 seconds apart — but Colorado’s top guns helped them jump right back in it.
Nathan MacKinnon picked up a goal and an assist within five minutes of Florida tying it to restore the Avalanche lead.
Barkov tied the game in his return to the lineup and the Panthers had a chance to tie it when Matthew Tkachuk drew a holding penalty.
They thought they had it tied when a Brandon Montour shot dinged the post and went sideways but the puck stayed out of the net.
Barkov saw the puck coming his way as it skittered away from the net and he could not get a hold of it.
”I knew it wasn’t in because it hit the post and I had the rebound there but my stick was stuck in my feet,” Barkov said. ”There were not good emotions there.”
THE GOALS OF THE GAME
- Avalanche 1, Panthers 0 (3:35, 1st, SHG): Logan O’Connor poked the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky as chaos ensued in front of the net.
- Avalanche 2, Panthers 0 (8:04, 1st): Matt Nieto scored on a one-timer from J.T. Compher.
- Avalanche 2, Panthers 1 (7:03, 2nd): Aaron Ekblad beat Alexandar Georgiev with a floater from the point.
- Panthers 2, Avalanche 2 (8:03, 2nd): Sam Bennett scored on a wrist shot from the face-ooff circle.
- Avalanche 3, Panthers 2 (8:33, 2nd): Devon Toews knocked a Bowen Byram rebound past Bobrovsky.
- Avalanche 4, Panthers 2 (14:01, 2nd, PPG): Nathan MacKinnon fired in a loose puck from the slot on the power play.
- Avalanche 4, Panthers 3 (11:03, 3rd): Sasha Barkov tapped in a feed from Sam Reinhart.
- Avalanche 5, Panthers 3 (19:02, 3rd): MacKinnon ENG
COLBY’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado (two goals, assist)
2. Devon Toews, Colorado (goal)
3. Sam Reinhart, Florida (two assists)
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MINNESOTA WILD
- When: Monday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season (Panthers 1-0): Panthers 5, Wild 3 (Jan. 21)
- All-time regular season series: Minnesota leads 18-9-2, 1 tie
- Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m.