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5 Takeaways: Panthers Come Out Hot, Can't Hang On in Loss to Flames

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

1/11/19 Post Game Interviews

1/11/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Bob Boughner, Aleksander Barkov and Mike Hoffman

  • 01:00 •

CALGARY -- The Florida Panthers jumped out to an early two-goal lead but couldn't hang on in a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.

Leading 2-0 after a power play goal from Jonathan Huberdeau just 20 seconds into the second period, the Panthers surrendered back-to-back goals to Michael Frolik and Mark Giordano less than five minutes apart in the middle frame to head into the second intermission knotted 2-2.

"Calgary's a good hockey club, the second-best record, point-wise, in the NHL," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "You come in here on a back-to-back and do a lot of good things in the first period. I thought they took the play to us in the second period, which we knew that they would have their push. At the end of the day, we had four or five glorious opportunities to go ahead in this game and get the next goal, and we never did."

In the third, Matthew Tkachuk, the beneficiary of a defensive-zone turnover, made it 3-2 at 8:29.

"Both teams did it, right?" Boughner said of the turnover battle. "Like I said, we had five or six 2-on-1's. It's always magnified when it goes in the back of your net. That's a bad turnover on the third goal, a guy standing all alone in front of the net. Again, we've had those chances on our side, too."

With time winding down in the third, one of those opportunities came when the Panthers had a chance to tie the game up on a 3-on-1 break with 3:47 left in regulation, but Flames goaltender David Rittich shut the door on a wrist shot from a slot to stifle Florida's late offensive surge.

Rittich, who made 24 saves, turned away 12 shot in the third period.

After that, Calgary capitalized would go on to capitalize on a late penalty, extending the lead to 4-2 lead on a power play goal from Sean Monahan at 18:33. Then, with Florida in desperate need of a goal, Evgenii Dadonov banged in a rebound to make it 4-3 at 19:40. 

Video: FLA@CGY: Dadonov buries rebound from the doorstep

The Panthers now sit at 17-18-8 on the season.

"We got a couple chances," said Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, who assisted on Dadonov's late goal. "Of course we could have scored and we could have won the game. We had a good start, we just needed to keep going. It just didn't happen."

Here are five takeaways from Friday's loss in Calgary…


Already the fastest first-year Panthers skater to reach the 20-goal mark, Mike Hoffman is well on his way to entering even more rarified air this season. With another goal tonight - his team-high 21st - the 29-year-old winger finds himself pace to score 40 goals this season.

Video: FLA@CGY: Hoffman opens scoring off turnover

How uncommon is that? We'll it's happened just twice since the franchise's inaugural campaign in 1993-94, with Hall of Famer Pavel Bure lighting the lamp 58 and 59 times during the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons, respectively. Both times, Bure was awarded the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Helping Hoffman get back on his collision course with 40 was Denis Malgin. Although he wasn't credited with an assist, it was his ferocity behind the net that forced the turnover that eventually led to Hoffman's goal, which put the Panthers ahead 1-0 at 6:18 of the first period.

"Malgin did a good job, and their D just turned it over," Hoffman said.

Hoffman now ranks third on Florida with 40 points, including 17 (nine goals, eight assists) over his last 19 contests. His 10 power play goals, meanwhile, are ranked tied for fourth in the NHL.


Hoffman's goal was the highlight of an overall solid opening 20 minutes for the Panthers.

Entering the first intermission with a lead for the first time since Dec. 22, Florida held Calgary to just four shots on goal - just two more than their fewest allowed in a single period this season. A big reason for that was their physicality, manifesting itself in six blocked shots and seven hits.

"The first 20, you couldn't ask for much better than that," Hoffman said.

Jayce Hawryluk and Juho Lammikko led the team with two hits apiece during the first frame, while six different players were credited with a block. Additionally the Panthers also won 53 percent of their faceoffs, with Aleksander Barkov leading the way with four winning draws.

Overall, Florida led Calgary in shots on goal (10-4) and shot attempts (14-3) after one.

And if you take those numbers and add them to last night's first period in Edmonton, you'll start to see a positive trend developing for the Panthers. In their loss to the Oilers, they yielded just five shots on goal in the opening frame, finishing the night with a 30-24 advantage.

Still, the Panthers, who outshot Calgary 27-24, were once again unable to hold on.

"It's tough," Hoffman said of the loss. "Obviously when you come out and have as strong a first period as we did, get the lead and then execute on the power play at the start of the [second] period, you definitely want to take advantage of those games.

"They're a good hockey team over there. We weren't going to dominate them for the entire game. It's just how things work. The team that makes the most mistakes usually loses. There were one too many."


On the power play, the Panthers caught the Flames napping early in the second period.

Somehow managing to stay unnoticed on the blue line, Jonathan Huberdeau collected a long stretch pass from Keith Yandle before darting into the offensive zone, where he skated in all alone on David Rittich before slipping the puck through his five-hole to make it 2-0 at 19:40.

Video: FLA@CGY: Huberdeau nets PPG to extend lead

Florida's scoring leader with 47 points, Huberdeau also ranks first on the team in assists (35), multi-point games (17) and tied for fourth in goals (12). In his last 23 games, the 25-year-old winger has registered 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists), with 11 of those points coming with the man advantage.

In Calgary, Huberdeau racked up a team-leading four shots on goal and three blocked shots.


Speaking of Yandle, Huberdeau's goal showed why he's heading to the 2019 All-Star Game.

The king of the stretch pass, Yandle ranks first among Florida's blueliners in points (36) and assists (30), while his 22 power-play points are tied for fourth in the NHL and first among all defensemen. Since 2008-09, the 32-year-old paces all NHL D-men with 216 power-play points.

With Yandle quarterbacking the top unit, the Panthers entering the night with the fourth-ranked power play in the league and first since Nov. 1. With Huberdeau's goal, they have now scored with the extra attacker in 27 of their last 34 games, going 34-for-110 (30.9 percent) in that span.

Against the Flames, Florida finished 1-for-2 on the power play, ending a three-game drought.

5. A 50-50 CHANCE

Leading 2-1, a long shot from Giordano at 15:10 of the second tied the game for the Flames.

But should it have counted?

With Tkachuk making contact with Roberto Luongo as he cruised through the crease, the Panthers challenged the scoring play, citing goaltender interference. But after a fairly quick review, the goal was eventually upheld, giving the Flames quite the boost.

Per the NHL Situation Room's official release, this is what the league saw: "After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referee, the Situation Room confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line."

As for Boughner, he said he thought it had a "50-50 shot" of being overturned.

"At that point of the game, a 2-1 game, you had to try it," he said. "I wasn't holding my breath.

Luongo finished with 20 saves on 23 shots. 

Video: FLA@CGY: Luongo makes incredible back-to-back saves

"Again, we would have made it easier on him if we scored that third goal earlier," Boughner said.

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