Panthers Make Sloppy Mistakes in Matinee Overtime Loss to Ducks

Panthers Overtime Loss Ducks

Sunrise, FL – The Florida Panthers suffered a frustrating back-and-forth overtime loss against the struggling Anaheim Ducks. After going up 2-0 in the first period, the Panthers (27-13-3) blew two two-goal leads and lost 5-4 to the Ducks (15-27-1) in a Monday afternoon tilt. 

Ducks forward Alex Killorn scored 48 seconds into overtime. It was his second goal of the game.

Radko Gudas made his return to Sunrise for the first time since moving out west. He signed with the Ducks for $12 million over three years this past offseason after spending three seasons in Florida. The Butcher was met with a loud ovation and a tribute video from the Panthers.

Frank Vatrano, who has already played at Amerant Bank Arena since being traded to the New York Rangers in March 2022, recorded two assists, the second of which came on Killorn’s overtime winner. 

The Panthers were leading 4-3 after two periods. They are now 19-0-2 when leading after two periods.

Sams Gone Wild

Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart combined for three goals on Monday with Bennett tallying two himself. 

Reinhart took a pass from Niko Mikkola with 2:25 left in the first period and fired it past Anaheim goaltender John Gibson for his 32nd goal of the season. He is already one goal shy of tying his career-high just 43 games into this season.

“Yeah, I can’t even keep track of him at this point,” Bennett said.

I think (the Amerant Bank Arena PA announcer) said it was his 32nd during the game, and some of us looked at each other on the bench like ‘32 already?’”

Bennett himself scored twice in their loss to the Ducks. The first was a power-play goal to open the scoring halfway through the first period. He was fed a pass in the slot from Evan Rodrigues on the half boards and fired home a wrist shot. The second came on a cross-ice pass from Matthew Tkachuk to Bennett for the one-timer from the right faceoff circle. It all started with Aaron Ekblad, finishing up a long shift that lasted 1:15, breaking up a pass to Sam Carrick in the slot and feeding it out to Tkachuk.

Sloppy play leads to quick chances for Anaheim

The Panthers defense didn’t allow Anaheim to set up a whole lot of chances in the Ducks’ offensive zone. Even during Anaheim’s seven minutes and 12 seconds of power play time, Florida kept the Ducks to zero goals and just two shots on goal.

Most of the five goals the Panthers allowed against the Ducks were acute breakdowns and mistakes, rather than conceding a lot of zone time to Anaheim. 

The first goal the Ducks scored came when Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson tried dumping the puck deep from just inside of his offensive blue line, but the puck found Ducks forward Alex Killorn’s stick. Killorn dashed into his offensive zone, went backhand, then forehand, to bury the puck past Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz to get on the board, 2-1.

The Ducks also scored short-handed five minutes into the second period. The Panthers misplayed a puck along the half boards in their offensive zone, allowing the puck to glide into wide-open ice where Ducks center Adam Henrique corralled it. He passed it to former Panther Frank Vatrano, who passed it back to Killorn for the goal to tie the game at 2-2.

“We had a good first period and then I thought we were a little arrogant with the puck in the second,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said. “We started to get beat one-on-one. If you get beat one-on-one that’s a tell that something else is going on in your game.”

Barkov out for final few minutes

Panthers first-line center Aleksander Barkov missed the final five minutes of the game, including overtime. Paul Maurice said he was dealing with a lower-body injury.

“He’s been dealing with something that we don’t want to get worse,” Maurice said. “And it didn’t. I think we got it early enough. So we’re expecting him to be a player for us against Detroit (on Wednesday) and just didn’t want to risk that at this time.”

Maurice added: “Between the trainer, Sasha, and I, we know what it looks like going into the game. (Barkov) thought he could play and he did. And then it got a little tighter as the game went on. He told me at the start of the first period that it tightened a bit and I said ‘well, he’s out as soon as he can’t go’ and then he came back and said it was tightened a bit more.”

Next up, the Panthers host the Detroit Red Wings.

📸Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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