Panthers Can’t Hold 4-1 Lead Late, Fall to Blues in Overtime

Panthers Blues

Coming off a season-setting victory over one of the best teams in hockey, the Florida Panthers had momentum to give against a mixed St. Louis Blues squad.

While the Cats began hot and maintained a 4-1 lead into the third period, that would somehow not be enough as the Blues rallied back, tied the game, and forced an overtime period that they capitalized on, stealing a win from Florida in dramatic fashion.

Setting a Musical Scene

The Panthers are coming off possibly their most impressive game of the season, earning a dominant 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins, who still have the best record in the NHL so far. (18-3) Prior to that, the Panthers were on a three-game skid, falling to the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

While they’re certainly no pushover, the St. Louis Blues have been the definition of inconsistent, with an even 10-10 record and two straight losses on the road to the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning. But prior to the road trip, the Blues had won seven straight.

The Panthers Shred a Tasty Lick

Any doubt that Florida would keep some momentum from their marquee win over Boston was put away quickly. After two immediate shots on goal, defenseman Aaron Ekblad swung to the left side of the net and sank the first goal of the game after only a minute and 20 seconds.

While St. Louis would attempt to rally, but a minute later, defenseman Radko Gudas intercepted a St. Louis pass from near the blue line and sank a long blast to give Florida an immediate 2-0 lead. The Blues were now in a deep hole, and any shot of getting back into the game would require a massive comeback.

Florida would make another statement five minutes later, when Carter Verhaeghe broke away from a failed St. Louis onslaught and landed a direct shot to the net, getting by Blues goalie Thomas Greiss and raising the lead to 3-0.

The Panthers, who have been one of the best teams in the NHL when playing with an early lead, had more than enough momentum on their side.

St. Louis finally would answer with a goal of their own after left-wing Brandon Saad broke by Panthers goalie Spencer Knight for the response, but the damage was done early for the Blues. After two penalties on both teams, the first period finally ended.

St. Louis Sings a Sad Melody

The second period was less busy for either team. Florida still remained the dominant team on offense early, but St. Louis composed themselves and didn’t let the score climb any higher for a while.

Tensions boiled over five minutes in when Florida right-wing Patric Hornqvist and St. Louis defenseman Torey Krug took the gloves off and were sent to the box after landing some shots on each other.

After that, two more penalties on the Panthers gave the Blues enough opportunities to climb back into it. Still, Florida’s defense held strong and burned four minutes off the clock.

Just as the second period came to a close, Florida’s Sam Reinhart nailed a pass to Anton Lundell who did the rest, raising the lead once more with almost 13 minutes left.

What followed Florida’s goal consisted of a more physical game on the Blues end, trying to get back into the match in play, but neither team could succeed in scoring as the second period came to a close.

The Blues Finally Raise the Tempo

Florida’s defense kept the Blues in check at the beginning of the third period, even shaking off two early power play opportunities. However, St. Louis began their scoring when Ryan O’Reilly circled behind Knight and the net and sent a quick shot that bounced off of Knight into the net.

The Blues would not stop there, as following a successful faceoff and a deep pass, Jordan Kyrou broke away and sank a shot that just got by Knight’s left side, cutting the lead down to 4-3 with seven minutes to go.

Less than three minutes later, Vladimir Tarasenko capitalized off another pass in Panthers territory and nailed a high shot that flew into the net, tying the game and completing a 4-1 comeback.

This ultimately forced overtime that only lasted a minute, as Kyrou broke away from a packed Blues side of the ice and got by Knight one more time to secure an otherwise inconceivable win for St. Louis.

An Encore of Stats & What’s Next

Both the Blues and Panthers hit 37 shots, but St. Louis recorded more hits, won more faceoffs, and spent less time down a player from penalties. Greiss would up with 33 saves and didn’t allow any scoring by Florida in both the third period as well as overtime.

A win for Florida would have put them only a game behind Tampa Bay in the standings. However, the Panthers now hold a record of 10-8-3 and are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.

The Panthers will have to shrug off the loss and begin a five-game road trip. They’ll start off in Canada to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, November 28th at 9:30 PM. Florida will follow that game up with a match against the Calgary Flames the following day.

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