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5 Takeaways: Dadonov Dominant as Panthers Top Rangers in Shootout

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

11/10/19 Post Game Interviews

11/10/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Vincent Trocheck and Frank Vatrano and goaltender Sam Montembeault.

  • 01:25 •

Evgenii Dadonov was all over the ice on Sunday afternoon, registering three points to lead the Florida Panthers to a 6-5 shootout win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"I thought it was an entertaining game," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "Every time the puck went at the net, it was almost like, 'OK, what's going to happen next?' It was a little bit of uncertainty of pucks flying around today, but I thought we got a lot of pucks to the net, had good presence at the net as well and got rewarded with for a couple of goals like that."

After the Panthers jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals from Aleksander Barkov and Dominic Toninato, Filip Chytil tied the game for the Rangers at 2-2 just 1:28 into the second period. At 4:42, Dadonov regained the lead for Florida with a power-play goal that made it 3-2.

From there, Brady Skjei and Kaapo Kakko would each light the lamp to put New York on top 4-3 before Frank Vatrano collected an amazing stretch pass from Dadonov and buried a breakaway goal to make it 4-4 at 8:30. At 18:35, Chris Kreider scored to put the Rangers back on top 5-4.

After the two teams combined for six goals in the second period, Brian Boyle netted the lone goal in the third, tipping a shot from Keith Yandle past Henrik Lundqvist make it 5-5 at 7:01.

Following a scoreless overtime, Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck each scored in the shootout, while rookie Sam Montembeault, who made 15 saves in the third period and overtime, stopped two of three shooters - including a huge pad stop on Artemi Panarin - to lift the Panthers to a 6-5 win.

"He battled," Quenneville said of Montembeault, who improved to 2-1-1 on the season. "In a game like that, you've got to keep moving forward, looking toward the next shot and finding your focus. I thought he did that. He showed real good composure as well."

Yet to lose consecutive games in regulation this season, Florida (8-4-5) now has points in 12 of its last 14 games and is currently holding onto the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Good teams don't lose two in a row," said Trocheck, who's scored the deciding goal in both of the club's shootout wins this year. "That was an important win for us to make up for yesterday."

Here are five takeaways from Sunday's win in New York…

1. BARKOV KEEPS ROLLING

Barkov is on an incredible scoring tear right now.

Trailing 1-0 in the first period, the Panthers captain sent a few jaws to the floor when he pulled off one of his prettiest goal of the season, pumping the brakes before wiring a wrister from near the center of the right circle that flew past Lundqvist to tie the game 1-1 18:13 of the first period.

Video: FLA@NYR: Barkov stops and snipes a wrist shot home

After going without a goal through the first 12 games of the season, the 24-year-old center has now found the back of the net in five straight contests, becoming just the fifth player in franchise history to do so. The record for longest goal streak in team history is seven, set by Pavel Bure.

With two points against the Rangers, Barkov is now in sole possession of the team-scoring lead with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 17 games. A Selke Trophy hopeful, he also swiped a game-high four takeaways throughout this afternoon, pushing his total to a team-leading 14.

2. IT'S TONI TIME

Welcome to the Panthers, Toninato!

In just his third game with the team after being recalled from AHL Springfield on Wednesday, the 25-year-old center made his presence felt, maneuvering around a defender near the crease before banging home a rebound on the doorstep to put Florida up 2-1 with 1:17 left in the first. 

Video: FLA@NYR: Toninato buries the rebound for a 2-1 lead

"It's always nice to get that first one [with a new team]," said Toninato, who came over in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche in June. "It was nice to get one right after we scored, too. That's an important shift going out there."

Filling in for injured center Noel Acciari on the fourth line, Toninato hasn't looked out of place at all while playing important minutes for the Panthers. In addition to his goal, he also tallied three hits, dropped the gloves for one fight and went 3-for-5 in the faceoff dot over 7:26 of ice time.

"I liked his game," Quenneville said of Toninato. "He's given us a purpose when he's out there and kind of represents the way that [Acciari] plays, so that line keeps that identity. He scored a big goal, jumped in there for a teammate. You notice things like that."

3. DADONOV'S GOT POWER

Dadonov might be the unsung hero of Florida's top line.

Matching a career-high with three points against the Rangers, the 30-year-old netted his eighth goal of the season this afternoon, taking a pass from Barkov, dropping to one knee and blasting home a one-timer on the power play to put the Panthers up 3-2 at 4:42 of the second period.

With the goal, Florida has now scored with the man advantage in six straight games.

Video: FLA@NYR: Barkov, Dadonov team up for power-play goal

Producing at nearly a point-per-game clip, Dadonov has notched 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 17 games this season. A consistent contributor on offense, he's made his way onto the scoresheet in six of the last eight games, posting four goals and five assists in that span.

Using defense to create offense, Dadonov had a team-best five hits in New York.

4. THE HIT AND DISH

As gorgeous as Dadonov's goal was, this assist might have been even better.

After blowing up Brendan Smith with a huge check along the boards in the defensive zone, he sent a tape-to-tape stretch pass to Vatrano while falling to the ice. Carrying the puck across the blue line on a breakaway, Vatrano then roofed a shot to make it 4-4 at 8:30 of the middle frame. 

Video: FLA@NYR: Dadonov sets up Vatrano's breakaway goal

"We weathered the storm, played well in overtime and then we got the win in the shootout," Vatrano said. "It was a good all-around effort from all of us."

Getting at least a point in eight of the last 12 games, Vatrano has been providing plenty of depth-scoring for the Panthers. In 17 games this season, the 25-year-old winger has racked up five goals and three assists. Additionally, he's also notched 15 hits and 17 blocked shots.

"We're going to keep this momentum going forward," Vatrano said.

5. BOYLE'S BIG BODY

Boyle put his entire 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame to use on this goal.

With the Panthers trailing 5-4 and in desperate need of a goal in the third period, Boyle used his big body to push his way around a defender near the crease before tipping a long slap shot from Keith Yandle right into the net to get the game all knotted up at 5-5 with 12:59 left in regulation.

Video: FLA@NYR: Boyle tips Yandle's shot by Lundqvist

Despite missing out on a traditional training camp, Boyle has managed to hit the ground running since signing a one-year deal with the Panthers on Oct. 20. In nine games, he's notched three goals, two assists and 16 hits, while also winning a team-leading 59.4 percent of his faceoffs.

After centering the third line on Saturday on Long Island, Boyle was back on the second today.

"There's balance in the lines," Quenneville said. "That line was doing well together."

BONUS: FACEOFF DOMINANCE

The Panthers not only won the game this afternoon, but also the faceoff battle.

In one their most-dominant performances in the dot this season, they won 41 of the 54 faceoffs they took against the Rangers. Each of Florida's top-three centers contributed mightily to the effort, as Barkov went 11-for-15, Trocheck went 9-for-11 and Boyle went an incredible 14-for-17.

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