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Florida Panthers Limp Home After Loss in Calgary

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Florida Panthers goalie Anthony Stolarz makes a stop with a pileup at the net during the third period of Calgary’s 3-1 win at the Saddledome on Monday night. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire)

The Florida Panthers had a chance to end their longest road trip of the season on a winning note, only to once again be derailed in Calgary.

The Panthers have not won at the Saddledome since 2018 and, despite controlling play for much of the game, only scored once against Jacob Markstrom in a 3-1 loss.

The game was tied after the first period and remained that way until Sasha Barkov and Sam Reinhart had a pass picked off in the offensive zone on a power play.

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Mikael Backlund took off with the puck, drove in on Anthony Stolarz and threw a backhanded shot through at 3:31 of the third for what would be the game-winning goal.

Florida had a prime opportunity to tie the score and force overtime as it had a power play with the net empty with 2:13 remaining — but Blake Coleman snagged a loose puck with the empty net, was dragged down by Brandon Montour and that was that.

The Panthers went 2-3-0 on this 5-game trip which started last Sunday afternoon in Columbus.

“For the fifth game, you’re real happy with the first 40 minutes,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “The shorthanded goal sets you back. It just does. Then we’re chasing it after that.”

As is the case with a number of east coast teams, the trip west can be treacherous and this one certainly was for the Panthers.

Last year, with Spencer Knight getting four of the starts and Sasha Barkov out when pneumonia, Florida went 2-2-1 on this trip with Winnipeg subbed in for Columbus.

On this one, Florida won in Columbus only to get shutout in back-to-back 4-0 losses to Seattle and Vancouver.

The Panthers rebounded with an impressive 5-1 win in Edmonton on Saturday night — but despite playing well for much of Monday’s game, never led and head home for a date with the struggling St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Florida will play its final game before the Christmas break on Saturday afternoon in a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Vegas Golden Knights.

“This is an easy one to learn from,” said Sam Reinhart, who scored Florida’s lone goal with 30.4 seconds left in the first period. “It is time to get back home, reenergize and get ready to play two before Christmas.”

ON DECK

ST. LOUIS BLUES @ FLORIDA PANTHERS 

  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • This Season — At Florida: Thursday. At St. Louis: Jan. 9.
  • Last Season: Blues won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: St. Louis leads 26-12-1, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Vegas, 3 p.m.

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