SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers looked like they were doing just fine without captain Sasha Barkov on Saturday night.
They jumped to a three-goal lead as fans were still getting settled in and took that lead into the third period.
Then the St. Louis Blues took over — and snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat.
The Blues scored three times in the third period with Jordan Kyrou getting his second of the night just over a minute into overtime to stun the Panthers 5-4.
“You have to skate and you have to make plays,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”You can’t sit on anything.”
Said Kyrou: “It was just a crazy comeback.”
The Panthers controlled this one from the start, getting goals from Aaron Ekblad and Radko Gudas within the first three minutes with Carter Verhaeghe making it 3-0 before the nine minute mark.
Things were going swimmingly.
St. Louis did score in the first, but Anton Lundell made it 4-1 in the second off a great play from Sam Reinhart following a penalty kill.
The Panthers were feeling good about themselves as they should have.
Only the Blues — a team that had lost their past two including the night before in Tampa — did not quit.
The Panthers were playing without Barkov as he is still dealing with whatever cost him the game against Dallas last week.
Maurice said playing down a man did not cost his team the game. St. Louis, after all, was not exactly rested.
”They played back-to-back with 11 forwards,” Maurice said. “That is not an excuse.”
In the third, the Blues outshot the Panthers 19-4 in the third period to steal what should have been a nice win for them before a long road trip to western Canada.
Florida had all of the momentum going into the third period but lost it after taking two penalties in the first half of the frame.
In the first, Florida was outshooting the Blues 12-1 and holding a 3-0 lead.
The Blues did not get their first goal until Brandon Saad picked up a Josh Leivo rebound that bounced off Colin White’s foot and put it past Spencer Knight on St. Louis’ first legitimate scoring chance of the game 11:39 into the first period.
Lundell restored Florida’s three-goal lead with a 2-on-1 give-and-go with Sam Reinhart following a successful penlty kill 12:50 into the second but the Blues seized the game in the third period.
Ryan O’Reilly started St. Louis’ rally by finishing off a bounce off the boards via a Rosen shot with a wrap-around that caught Knight off guard as he was straying from the post.
Kyrou then tucked a wrist shot under the bar on Knight’s blocker side five-and-a-half minutes later to bring St. Louis within a goal.
Vladimir Tarasenko tied things up with 3:49 to go after finding an opening in the slot and firing a feed from Ivan Barbashev past Knight after a defensive breakdown by Josh Mahura.
Kyrou ended things on the lone shot in overtime — a backhander on the breakaway.
Knight finished the game with 32 saves on 37 shots.
”It was tough for him because it was quiet early in the game and you sit there for a long and then you go right to a lot of penalty kill time,” Maurice said.
“He made some good saves and I think he looked a little bit like our team in the third period with some of the easier pucks that came to him.”
COLBY’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis (two goals)
2. Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis (goal, assist)
3. Sam Reinhart, Florida (two assists)
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT EDMONTON OILERS
- When: Monday, 9:30 p.m.
- Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta
- 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
- Season Series (Oilers lead 1-0): Edmonton 4, Florida (Nov. 12)
- Last season: Split 1-1
- All-time regular season series: Edmonton leads 22-14-0, 3 ties