During his stint so far in Sunrise, Florida Panthers defenseman Keaton Ellerby has been impressive. He has looked smooth and played physically, finally looking to justify the 10th overall selection that Florida used on him in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Tuesday night, however, he may have cost the Panthers a critical two points with a rookie mistake.
Ellerby got caught taking out his man away from the puck, leading to a three-on-one for St. Louis. Blues forward Matt D’Agostini held onto the puck and sniped a shot over Tomas Vokoun, leading St. Louis to a 2-1 win Tuesday night, in Florida. The tiebreaking goal came with just four minutes left in the game.
Trailing 1-0 late in the second period, the Blues tied the game at one when the Panthers got caught making a bad line change. Andy McDonald came in on a two-on-one and faked the shot, drawing Vokoun way out of position, before sliding a pass across to David Backes who put the puck into the open net.
The Panthers drew first blood in the opening period on a 5-on-3 power play. Stephen Weiss passed the puck from his position at the right point to Dennis Wideman on the left point. Wideman let loose a one-timer that beat Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak over the right shoulder.
Florida, which currently has the fourth fewest home wins in the NHL, has won just twice in the past 10 games. They are now seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with just one game in hand on eighth place Carolina.
Florida continues the second of a five game home stand Thursday night, against the Buffalo Sabres.