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5 Takeaways: Golden Knights Pull Away in 3rd Period to Beat Panthers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

2/6/20 Post Game Interviews

2/6/20 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forward Vincent Trocheck and defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

  • 00:55 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - Vincent Trocheck said the Florida Panthers are going to need to show more "heart and urgency" following Thursday's 7-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at BB&T Center.

"Definitely got outworked," Trocheck said of the loss. "We didn't have enough energy. It was a 2-2 game halfway through the second period, and then we manage to give up five more goals."

Vegas struck first tonight when Mark Stone followed his own rebound and slipped a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 1-0 at 2:15 of the first period. At 16:22, however, Mike Hoffman answered with a power-play goal for Florida to make it 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

Netting his second goal of the night, Stone put the Golden Knights back on top when he cut through the defense and lifted a shot into the net to make it 2-1 at 1:14 of the second period.

At 11:52, the Panthers evened things up once again when Trocheck cruised into the offensive zone before deftly tucking a wrap-around goal past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-2. But just 26 seconds after that, Max Pacioretty lit the lamp to put Vegas right back on top 3-2 at 12:18.

"A 2-2 game against the one of the best teams in the league," Trocheck said of the sequence. "That next shift is one of the most important shifts in the game. We get outworked on that one."

Just 17 seconds into the third period, Nate Schmidt buried a long shot through traffic to extend the Golden Knights' lead to 4-2. After that, Vegas started to pull away when Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault found the back of the net at 4:11 and 8:53, respectively, to make it 6-2.

Following Marchessault's goal, Bobrovsky was pulled from the game in favor of backup Sam Montembeault. Bobrovsky finished with 23 saves, while Fleury turned aside 23 of 25 shots.

With 4:54 remaining in regulation, Pacioretty potted his second goal of the night to make it 7-2.

"I thought we had a good first 20 minutes," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "Early in the second, we got it back to 2-2. I thought we were still OK at that point.

"We started the third thinking we got a shot, and we give up a goal right after the start of the third. It went downhill quickly after that. Not fun to watch."

Despite the loss, the Panthers (29-18-6) have gone 7-2-1 over their last 10 games.

"Obviously this is a tough game to swallow, but we've got to move on and stay positive," Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. "We've got to look forward to the next one."

Here are five takeaways from Thursday's loss in Sunrise…

1. POWERFUL PASSING

Florida's first goal was the result of some very pretty passing.

On the power play, Jonathan Huberdeau kicked things off by deking around a defender before sending a slick backhand pass straight down the slot to Trocheck. Dropping down to one knee, Trocheck then set up Hoffman for an easy goal that made it 1-1 at 16:22 of the opening period.

Vegas challenged the play for goaltender interference, but it was upheld upon review.

Video: VGK@FLA: Hoffman finishes pretty passing play for PPG

His 20th goal of the season, Hoffman is the fifth player in Panthers history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first two seasons with the team. Notching at least one point in 12 of his last 14 games, the 30-year-old winger ranks second the club in goals (20) and third in points (43).

2. BRING IT AROUND TOWN

Trocheck showed off his wheels on this goal.

After collecting a pass from Huberdeau, Trocheck carried the puck into the offensive zone with a head full of stream, going wide around a defender before cutting toward the net and sneaking a smooth wrap-around goal just past Fleury's skate to make it 2-2 at 11:52 of the second period.

Video: VGK@FLA: Trocheck flashes speed to net wraparound PPG

Finishing with a goal and an assist against the Golden Knights, Trocheck picked up his seventh multi-point game of the season. In 46 games played, the 26-year-old center has registered 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists), including three goals and seven assists over his last 14 outings.

3. MORE POINTS FOR HUBY

The points keep coming for Huberdeau.

With two assists tonight, the All-Star winger upped his point total on the season to 68, which not only leads the team, but also currently places him seventh overall in league-scoring. Of those points, 49 have been assists, which is good enough for the fourth in the league at the moment.

His team-best 20th multi-point game of the season, Huberdeau, who is on pace to surpass the career-high 92 points he tallied in 2018-19, continues to produce at far better than a point-per-game clip. In his last 21 games, the 26-year-old has notched 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists).

4. THE TURNING POINT

Pacioretty's first goal of the night appeared to turn the tide in Vegas' favor.

After tying the game 2-2, Trocheck said he felt the Panthers had the momentum firmly in their favor before the Golden Knights went back down the ice and re-took the lead 26 seconds later.

"In the second period we battled back, tied the game 2-2, and then they took over," Trocheck said. "We were flat the rest of the game."

In the third period, Vegas not only netted four more goals, but also held big advantages over Florida in shots on goal (15-3) and shot attempts (24-6), according to NaturalStatTrick.com. "Both times we got it back even, boom, they got the lead back right away," Quenneville said.

5. GETTING BACK ON TRACK

On an impressive roll for almost two months, tonight marked the first time the Panthers have dropped consecutive games since mid-December (they fell 1-0 in overtime in Columbus on Tuesday).

With that in mind, the team will now look to quickly get back on the right track when they close out their two-game homestand against Pittsburgh on Saturday. The third and final meeting between the two clubs this season, Florida has gone a perfect 2-0-0 against the Penguins.

Moving forward, Quenneville wants the Panthers to have a more-consistent pace to their game.

"We've had a couple stretches here this year where we didn't like how we battled or competed," Quenneville said. "There's only one way to play. You've got to have a certain standard, and it's all-out. You're not going to have success going around at a certain pace. You've got to push each other in a positive way and find a way to reach that max level."

At 29-18-6, the Panthers currently occupy third place in the Atlantic Division.

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