Panthers Blow Lead, Lose to Blues 3-2
Writer: Matt Ross
Last night the Panthers looked like they had the game in the bag...and then they didn't.
It was the Cats losing the third period, despite scoring their second goal to make it 2-0 in the early minutes said period, that cost them the game.
But let's start at the beginning...
The Panthers had a nice start to the first and generated good pressure that put St. Louis on their heels a bit. There were a couple really good opportunities early for Florida - most notably the goal line floater and Derick Brassard's empty net chance on a misplay by Blues goalie Jordan Binnington. The Blues, however, weren't without their opportunities. But the Cats would be the first to find the back of the net, scoring a nice PP goal when Henrik Borgstrom picked up a loose puck in front of the net, and with arms fully extended, was able to sweep it by a sprawling Binnington to go up 1-0.
All was well in South Florida.
The second period was a stalemate that saw no goals, but a number of good chances for both sides - however, the scales felt tipped a bit more in the Blues direction. Reimer came up big a number of times on some really solid looks from the Blues' big boys and managed to keep a goose egg on the St. Louis side of the scoreboard.
Again...all was well in South Florida.
The Cats entered the third on the PP and quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead when Barkov scored point blank in the first 30 seconds of the period off a pass from Hoffman (who was streaking around the back of the Blues net). That Panthers PP really been a bright spot this season.
Then the collapse...
As the third period went on, it felt like the the Panthers were breaking down at the same time the Blues were building up. When the Cats failed to clear the zone, it was Colton Parayko who scored on a (ridiculous) wrap around. Then a series of turn overs cost the Panthers two more goals: one coming from Ryan O'Reilly and the other from defensemen Vince Dunn to give the Blues their first lead of the night at 3-2.
The Panthers had a rebound of sorts in the dwindling minutes of the period after pulling Reimer and gaining the extra man, but it was too late. A couple shots off the iron would be the last sound they would hear before the final horn blared.
In total, the Panthers were outshot 34 to 24. Not an awful discrepancy, but what hurt them was the lopsided third period where the Blues put on 19 shots to the Cats 8. Hard to place any blame on Reimer, who was solid despite the outcome. The break down was on the guys in front of him - most notably in the botched clearing attempts and turn overs. We've touched on it before, but you need to play a full 60 minutes in order to get the W. Credit to STL for playing with desperation and taking advantage of the Panthers mistakes.
The Cats pick things back up on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the mean time...it's interesting to note that I've see a number of sites increase their news about the CBJ / FLA rumor. Keep an eye on that as it feels like the dominos might start falling as we progress through February...
The trade deadline is one of the best times of the year!
All for now.