The Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks held a reunion of sorts on Friday night.
The Panthers left the party with a hard-fought win — but it may have come at a cost.
Florida ended up earning a 2-1 win, but captain Sasha Barkov left the game early in the third with what appeared to be a left knee injury.
Anthony Stolarz, who left the Ducks organization after four season to sign with the Panthers in July, got his third win in four starts by making 34 saves.
Florida (11-5-1) has now won six of its past seven games and went 2-1 on its three-game California road trip.
The win also marked No. 1,000 in franchise history, one which started in 1993 alongside the Ducks.
The Panthers also welcomed Brandon Montour, drafted in the second round by the Ducks in 2014, and Aaron Ekblad back into the lineup for the first time this season.
Jonah Gadjovich made his Florida debut as well.
All three players made an impact against a Ducks team led by former Panthers Frank Vatrano and Radko Gudas.
Florida led 2-0 after the first period but could not get anything past John Gibson after that.
The Florida power play, which went 0-for-5 the night before in Los Angeles, again had a lot going for it — save for scoring any goals.
Friday, the Panthers went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Instead of closing out the Ducks with back-to-back power plays to kick off the third — and one to start the second — the Panthers let the Ducks back into it.
In the third, Vatrano closed the gap on the Panthers by following up a rebound on the Ducks third power play chance.
A few moments later, it looked like Anaheim may have tied the game when Jakob Silfverberg appeared to jam the puck under the skate of Stolarz.
Following a lengthy review, it was determined the call on the ice would stand and there was no goal.
From the NHL: There was no conclusive video evidence to show that Silfverberg’s shot crossed the Florida goal line and thus, the call on the ice was upheld.
The Ducks came into the game with an NHL-record six third-period comeback wins in their first 15 games of a season.
Friday, they gave the Panthers all they could handle in a lopsided third.
Anaheim outshot the Panthers 16-3 in the final 20.
The Panthers got its two goals in the first period from Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson — both off nice passes from Anton Lundell.
— As for Barkov, coach Paul Maurice did not have any sort of update following the game.
It should be noted, Maurice was not his usual upbeat self when talking about an injury that is not of great concern.
“We have to get him back and get him looked at,’’ Maurice said, “and we’ll see from there.”
The Panthers will be flying home from Southern California on Saturday morning and are scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale that evening.
An update on Barkov could come following practice on Sunday.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Panthers 1, Ducks 0 (14:50, 1st): Eetu Luostarinen was on the receiving end of a give-and-go from Anton Lundell, beating John Gibson as he was looking the other way.
- Panthers 2, Ducks 0 (18:06, 1st): Lundell had another sweet pass from behind the net, firing one to Oliver Ekman-Larsson waiting in the left circle.
- Panthers 2, Ducks 1 (7:39, 3rd PP): Frank Vatrano follows up on a rebound in the slot for his fifth power play goal of the season. Florida’s power play was 0-for-4 at the time.
GR’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Anthony Stolarz (34 saves), Florida
2. Anton Lundell (2 primary assists), Florida
3. Frank Vatrano (PPG), Anaheim
PANTHERS ON DECK
EDMONTON OILERS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- 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, NHL App
- This Season: @Florida, Monday; @ Edmonton, Dec. 16
- Last season: Edmonton won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Edmonton leads 23-14-0, 3 ties