Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Still-perfect Panthers make Coyotes latest victim

Field Level Media
26 Oct 2021, 12:19 GMT+10

The Florida Panthers, who lead the NHL with 12 points, ran their winning streak to six to start the season by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 on Monday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Florida improved to 6-0-0, getting goals from Joe Thornton, Frank Vatrano, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau and AnthonyDuclair. Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour added two assists each.

Panthers 20-year-old rookie goalie Spencer Knight made 18 saves and improved to 6-0-0 since making his NHL debut late last season.

The Panthers had a 41-21 advantage in shots on goal.

Arizona, winless in six games (0-5-1), lost starting goalie Carter Hutton due to a lower-body injury. He made 10 saves on 11 shots but left after the first period.

The Coyotes got goals from Clayton Keller, Liam O'Brien and Phil Kessel. Karel Vejmelka, who replaced Hutton for the final two periods, made 26 saves.

Arizona also lost defenseman Conor Timmins, who suffered a leg injury after getting hit into the boards by Florida's Radko Gudas.

The Panthers had an 11-1 advantage on first-period shots on goal, yet the Coyotes took a 1-0 lead with just 2:17 expired on their one shot, Keller's breakaway.

With Panthers defensemen Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar pinched in, Arizona took advantage. Weegar's bad pass was intercepted by Nick Schmatlz, whose long feed sprung Keller. Knight was beaten five-hole.

Florida tied the score on Thornton's goal with 19 seconds left in the first. The Panthers, with their second-string power-play unit on the ice, earned a clean face-off win, with Owen Tippett moving the puck toward Montour for a blast from the point. Sam Reinhart collected the rebound and made a short dish to Thornton for his wide-open, point-blank goal. It was his first goal of the season.

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead with six minutes gone in the second. Patric Hornqvist slid a cross-ice pass off the boards to Montour, whose shot was saved by Vejmelka. However, Vatrano was there to shove in the rebound.

Florida took a 3-1 lead with 9:41 left in the second on Ekblad's power-play goal, which deflected off Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

The Panthers made it 4-1 in the third as Tippett's steal led to a two-on-nine breakaway and Huberdeau's goal. Bennett got the primary assist.

Florida's string of goals was later snapped as Arizona scored twice in 34 seconds. O'Brien scored with 8:03 left, and Kessel came through with 7:29 remaining.

Duclair's empty-netter with 39 seconds left sealed Florida's win.

--Field Level Media

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