Minnesota Nice: Florida Panthers 2, Wild 1 (SO)
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On Monday afternoon, Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice said his team was treating each game, from here on out, as a playoff game.
If that means not scoring on the power play, well, the Panthers are in postseason form.
Monday night, the Panthers went scoreless on seven chances with the power play but got a key win with a 2-1 shootout against the host Minnesota Wild.
Both goalies — Sergei Bobrovsky and Filip Gustavsson — were fantastic throughout the game with Bobrovsky forcing the shootout with three huge saves in overtime.
In the shootout, Bobrovsky stopped two of three shots; Anton Lundell and Sasha Barkov both scored to give the Panthers the win.
Florida is now a point behind Pittsburgh — the Penguins have four games in hand — for the final wild card spot with Washington (one game) up only two points.
The Panthers improved to 2-1 in the shootout this season and 3-6 in all overtime games. Florida has also won its past three games at Xcel Energy Center after losing 10 of 11 prior.
The Panthers appeared to get the lead at 3:02 of the third in the final seconds of a 5-on-3 power play chance — only Brandon Montour’s goal was immediately waved off.
Matthew Tkachuk’s right elbow clipped the mask of Gustavsson as the puck was coming through and it was ruled ‘incidental contact’ with the goalie.
So, the score remained tied at 1.
Florida ended up getting a few more chances on the power play but did not score.
Montour also put the goal in the net at the end of overtime — only overtime was over and the game went to the shootout.
The Panthers took the initial lead a 2:06 of the second on a goal from Eetu Luostarinen; Karill Kasprizov tied it just over three minutes later.
— The Panthers briefly lost Montour at the end of the first period when he and Mats Zuccarello got tied up going into the boards. Montour returned early in the second.
Barkov also briefly headed to the room as Montour was coming back out after getting hit in the back from a Gus Forsling shot.
Forsling, whose shot toward the net led to the Florida’s first goal, also took out Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno with a point-shot in the second. Foligno had to be helped off the ice.
NO POWER AT XCEL ENERGY
The Panthers’ power play has not been clicking much of late, going 0-for-7 through the midway point of the third on Monday night.
Florida did get 15 shots on goal during their time with the man advantage, however, so the chances were most definitely there.
Coming into the night, Florida’s power play had scored just one goal in its previous 15 tries — including 0-4 on Saturday against Colorado.
The Panthers have also given up three shorthanded goals during that span.
The seven shorthanded goals Florida has given up this season ranks 26th in the NHL.
The Panthers’ penalty kill was strong on Monday night, holding the Wild scoreless on its five chances.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Panthers 1, Wild 0 (2:06, 2nd): Eetu Luostarinen got a chunk of a Gus Forsling saucer shot to finally break the ice. The Panthers were outshooting the Wild 21-11 at the time.
- Wild 1, Panthers 1 (5:15, 2nd): Karill Kaprizov gets his 30th of the season as the All-Star absolutely sniped one from the left circle over the shoulder of Sergei Bobrovsky.
- Panthers 2, Wild 1 (SO): Mats Zuccarello scored on the Wild’s first shot, but Bobrovsky stopped the next two as Anton Lundell and Sasha Barkov scored on Florida’s two shots.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida (27 saves)
2. Filip Gustavsson, Minnesota (33 saves)
3. Eetu Luostarinen, Florida (goal)
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ST. LOUIS BLUES
- When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
- Streaming ONLY: ESPN+/Hulu
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Blues lead 1-0): St. Louis 5, Florida 4 (OT), Nov. 26
- Last season: Split 1-1
- All-time regular season series: St. Louis leads 25-12-1, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Florida Panthers: Thursday at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m.
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