Panthers ruin short-handed Canucks’ homecoming
Aleksander Barkov scored the shootout winner to give the visiting Florida Panthers a 2-1 comeback victory over the undermanned Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
Barkov faked a deke to his forehand before lifting a one-handed backhand into the net for the deciding goal in the third round of the shootout.
Sam Reinhart tallied in regulation for the league-leading Panthers, who are on an 10-1-1 run. Florida goaltender Spencer Knight made 27 saves through regulation and overtime, then fended off two of the three opponents he faced in the shootout.
Alex Chiasson scored in the first period for the Canucks, who were without goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak, captain Bo Horvat, leading scorer J.T. Miller and top-six forward Conor Garland due to COVID-19 protocol. The contest was Vancouver’s first home game since Dec. 14.
Goalie Spencer Martin, whose three previous NHL games came in the 2016-17 season, stopped 33 shots through regulation and overtime in an outstanding performance. However, he could keep out only one of three shootout attempts in an attempt for his first NHL victory.
Chiasson’s first goal in a dozen games opened the scoring at 16:18 of the opening period. Chiasson was parked in front of the net when Tanner Pearson deflected a Quinn Hughes point shot, and the puck ricocheted off his midsection and into the net for a power-play goal.
The Panthers finally drew even when Reinhart netted a power-play goal 1:41 into the third period. Anthony Duclair attempted a pass to the front of the net, only to have it blocked, but Reinhart pounced on the loose puck and easily slipped it inside the post for his 12th goal of the season.
Although the Panthers had nowhere near the players out of action due to injury or illness, they took a hit before the game with forward Sam Bennett scratched due to a lower-body injury sustained Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers. Bennett has been on a tear with six goals and eight points in a four-game run.
–Field Level Media