One of the most exciting parts about the Florida Panthers Experience this season has been the team’s success when a game goes into overtime.
Too bad the 3-on-3 rules go out the window when the playoffs start next month because the Panthers in that scenario have been fantastic.
On Tuesday night, the Panthers forced overtime against the New York Islanders when Sasha Barkov scored his second of the night with less than four minutes left.
In overtime, you can just feel the other team pucker up when the Panthers hit the ice.
Barkov ended up winning the game 20 seconds in, taking a nice feed from Jonathan Huberdeau and driving in on Ilya Sorokin.
So far this season, the Panthers are 15-6 in games decided after 60 minutes — but they have won 12 of 14 in the five-minute overtime session.
The Panthers, despite all their firepower, are just 3-4 in games decided by the shootout.
That goes away in the postseason as well.
Florida has won its past eight games decided in the overtime and its only two losses in an overtime period came early in the season: Nov. 13 at Tampa Bay and Dec. 7 in St. Louis.
Since then, when overtime strikes — so do the Panthers.
“They’re just a talented group and there are a lot of different weapons,” Andrew Brunette said. “If we don’t score with that first group, we have three or four more coming behind them — five, really — who have the ability to make plays and win games. The depth we have, I say it all the time, the coaching staff is very fortunate to have.”
What makes the Panthers so good is, obviously, their offensive talent. But that’s not just in the forward ranks.
Florida plays two forwards and a defenseman in its three-man OT units and one upside of having offensive-minded defensemen comes in overtime.
The Panthers’ forwards get a lot of the glory as they are usually scoring the OT winners, but their defensemen set a lot of it up.
In the past eight overtime wins, two goals were scored by defensemen (Gus Forsling and Aaron Ekblad) with Forsling and Weegar having multiple assists during that span.
“I think they are pretty confident and are feeling it,” Brunette said. “They aspire to be great and are pushing themselves pretty hard.”
STREAKING THROUGH SUNRISE
Florida will be going for its second win against the Red Wings in less than a week and victory tonight would be historic.
The Panthers ride an 11-game winning streak into tonight’s game and a win would tie the franchise-record 12-game run from Dec. 15, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016.
Since the streak began March 29, the Panthers have outscored their opponents 56-29 and averaged 42.5 shots per game.
Over the past 11 games, Florida has averaged over five goals per night and have at least four in nine of 11 games.
And, even though the Red Wings upset the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday night, the Panthers are massive betting favorites tonight.
— Carter Verhaeghe was not at morning skate so the lineups are all blended up. Check below. Too many changes to list here.
— Colorado lost for the second consecutive game on Wednesday meaning Florida took sole possession of first place in the Presidents’ Trophy standings.
Florida and Colorado are tied with 116 points but the Panthers have played one less game. If the two remain tied at the end, the Avs win the tiebreaker with more regulation wins. The two teams split their two-game series this season.
— The Panthers can clinch the Atlantic and the top seed in the Eastern Conference tonight as long as they get one more point than Toronto does in Tampa Bay.
— Florida also has a nine-game home winning streak which is the second-longest win streak in franchise history behind the 11-game run the Panthers opened this season with.
The Panthers have three separate home winning streaks of at least nine games this season and are just the second team in NHL to do so.
The other? The 1995-96 Red Wings who lost in the Western Conference finals to the Avalanche.
— Barkov’s hat trick Tuesday was Florida’s sixth of the season which is a franchise record. Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett each have two while Mason Marchment and Barkov have one each.
— Anton Lundell’s first career shorthanded goal in Detroit on Sunday was Florida’s 12th of the season which ties it for the franchise record set in 1997-98.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
DETROIT RED WINGS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- Streaming only: ESPN+/Hulu
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- Draft Kings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-650); Puck line (-1.5, -225); Over/Under 7 (-105/-115)
- 2021 regular season series: Florida won 6-2
- Season Series — Florida leads 3-0: Florida 3, @Detroit 2 (Oct. 29); @Florida 6, Detroit 2 (March 5); Florida 6, @Detroit 1 (April 17)
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 32-19-6, 5 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
28 Claude Giroux // 8 Sam Bennett // 10 Anthony Duclair
17 Mason Marchment // 15 Anton Lundell // 70 Patric Hornqvist
55 Noel Acciari // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 19 Joe Thornton
8 Ben Chiarot // 52 MacKenzie Weegar
42 Gus Forsling // 62 Brandon Montour
32 Lucas Carlsson // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Robert Hagg, Petteri Lindbohm, Maxim Mamin, Carter Verhaeghe
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Jonas Johansson (IR), Aaron Ekblad (LTIR), Ryan Lomberg (LBI)
PROJECTED DETROIT RED WINGS LINEUP
59 Tyler Bertuzzi // 90 Joe Veleno // 23 Lucas Raymond
15 Jakub Vrana // 24 Pius Suter // 11 Filip Zadina
73 Adam Erne // 27 Michael Rasmussen // 70 Oskar Sundqvist
82 Jordan Oesterle // 22 Mitchell Stephens // 89 Sam Gagner
65 Dan DeKeyser // 53 Mo Seider
18 Marc Staal // 17 Filip Hronek
8 Jake Walman // 28 Gustav Lindstrom
29 Thomas Greiss
39 Alex Nedeljkovic