The Florida Panthers have been nothing if not entertaining during their seven game home stand.
Tuesday night was no exception, as Florida lost a hard fought 3-2 decision to the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers, in Sunrise.
Philadelphia scored first on a very strange goal. Mike Richards held the puck by the side of the net. Tomas Vokoun went out to challenge him, ended up flopping to the ice as a last resort to out-wait him, and the Flyers’ captain fed a centering pass to Scott Hartnell. From there, Hartnell shoveled the puck past a couple of diving defenseman and into the open net for the early 1-0 lead.
However, the Panthers battled back to tie the game at the 7:06 mark of the first period when Stephen Weiss carried the puck into the attack zone and let loose a laser beam that beat Brian Boucher over the glove. The puck hit the back of the net violently as Weiss was mobbed by his teammates.
The Panthers took their only lead of the night near the end of the first period after Sergei Samsonov found Dmitry Kulikov with a pass at the right point, and Kulikov slapped a bullet that may have been deflected over Boucher’s shoulder. Nonetheless, Kulikov was still credited for the goal.
In the second period, however, Jeff Carter took over for Philadelphia.
Carter tied the game at the 4:43 mark, as he forced a turnover and shot a puck that deflected off Vokoun’s glove and trickled into the net. It was a weak goal, adding to Vokoun’s off night. The Flyers got the game-winner with under five minutes remaining in the second, when Daniel Briere’s two-on-one backhand pass eluded a Florida defender’s stick, and Carter one-timed home his second goal of the game.
The Panthers wrap up the long home stand with games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night and the New York Islanders on Saturday night.