"We beat ourself early on. Not a very good effort in the first period and that kind of gets the game going for certain teams. They were ready to play.."
- Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert
1. Early Scoring: The Avalanche used some pretty passing plays to get on the board and take a 3-0 lead. It started early as budding superstar Matt Duchene found Ryan O'Reilly 1:34 in and then with 3:47 left in the period it was Swedish captain Gabriel Landeskog finding a wide open Paul Stastny. All alone in front of the net, Stastny out waited Tim Thomas for a 2-0 cushion. The Avs went back to the pretty passing in the second as Duchene and O'Reilly combined to set up Jamie McGinn who finished it off with one of those goals no goalie could stop with seven minutes left.
2. PK Success: Even with allowing two goals in the last game to end a franchise high 10-game opponent goalless streak, the Panthers penalty kill units have been fantastic and they were up to the task against the high powered Avs, killing off both Colorado power plays. They limited Colorado to just one shot on goal in the four minutes of power play time.
3. Throw The Sink: The Panthers came out firing in the third throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Avs and netminder Semyon Varlamov. They were rewarded with a goal as Scottie Upshall scored with five minutes gone in the period for his 100th career goal, batting the puck past Varlamov while in the goal crease. They made it a one goal game as Tom Gilbert blasted a turnover past Varlamov with 1:43 to play. Unfortunately that's all they could get as Varlamov stood strong in thwarting the Cat attack as the Avs held on for the victory despite the Cats putting 20 shots on net.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.
@DelaneyWarters: SO PROUD OF @FlaPanthers BC THEY CAME BACK FROM 3-0 TO 3-2 AND HAD SO MANY CHANCES. AMAZING JOB BOYS<3
@lovealexis98: We needed one more goal! Oh well! Good Game Boys(: #FlaPanthers #ComeBackCats @FlaPanthers
@baseballLuis: @FlaPanthers SOUND THAT HORN.#FlaPanthers
Memorable fan posts from the game.
Debbie Fritz Quincy: Kept it interesting in the 3rd!
Jeffrey Hernandez: Can't start games slow...really liked to see the improved effort in the third and the hunger for the tying goal, but it wasn't our night. We'll bounce back Sunday…#BelieveRED
Julie Hebron: Cats put up a good fight but just couldn't dominate their prey!!
3. The Panthers had a couple of big hitters in the game as Dmitry Kulikov and Sean Bergenheim finished with a game high three hits.
6. Scoring both of Florida's goals in the third period, Scottie Upshall picked up his sixth multi-point game of the season
77. Playing in his first game since Dec. 28, center Scott Gomez was great in the face-off dot winning 10 of his 13 face-offs.
100. Getting the Cats on the board in the third, Scottie Upshall picked up his 100th career NHL goal with his eighth of the season.
100. The teams combined to go perfect on the penalty kill as each team killed off both of their opponents power play chances.
Was under seige in the third period but kept the Panthers from tying it up in making 18 of his 34 saves in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Panthers hit the road for four straight beginning with a Sunday 5pm start in Detroit. This will be the fourth meeting between the two Atlantic Division foes with the Cats having won two of the first three, with both wins coming via the shootout. The last time the Cats were in Florida, the Panthers stormed back from two down in the third to win 3-2 in the shootout on Dec. 9. Detroit who downed Montreal 4-1 on Friday night, are currently in fifth place in the Atlantic with 56 points (23-18-10) in 51 games. The Wings are led by Henrik Zetterberg (44 points in 40 games) and Pavel Datsyuk (32 points in 35 games) while Jimmy Howard has posted a 9-12-8 record with a 2.64 GAA and .916 save percentage between the pipes and Jonas Gustavsson is 13-3-2 with a 2.39 GAA and .916 save percentage.