Brandon Montour’s two-attack goal allowed the Florida Panthers to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, in overtime on Wednesday.
Thanks to this gain, the Panthers (81 points) are within a point of the Pittsburgh Penguins (82 points) who hold the last available playoff spot in the East among drafted teams. In the standings, Florida has only been six days safe to reach the playoffs since mid-November. However, the Penn State formation had one more game ahead of it.
The Panthers also ended their four-game losing streak.
Montour completed a good attack that he started with Alexander Barkov for the 14th season at 1:41 of overtime. In the earlier moments, goalkeeper Alex Lyon has marked his Golden Card chances at least twice.
This is the second time this season that Montour has awarded his team the victory in overtime. In total, he was the author of five goals for the victory.
The Panthers were trailing by one goal when Sam Reinhart put the two teams back at square one in the power play with a minute left as the Florida goaltender retired.
Anton Lundell reached the Panthers’ 10th with a goal when the game was just 60 seconds old.
And Auston Matthews grounded Alex Lyon in the third period to make it 2-1, putting the Maple Leafs in a good position to earn the two points in the standings.
Goaltender Zack Aston-Reese tied the score with Toronto’s lead at 1-1 at 3:13 of the second period, but was unable to score on a penalty. Less than a minute later, Kali Garnekrok thought he had given Toronto the lead, but after his goal the officials ruled Matthews was in an offside position. Just before the ruling was announced, Panthers coach Paul Morris expressed frustration with his players behind the bench by yelling at them.
The Panthers will return to action Thursday at the Bell Center against the Montreal Canadiens.
The caps snap into one point
The New York Islanders earned their first shootout victory of the campaign in six attempts, defeating the Washington Capitals 2-1.
Bo Horvat scored the team’s second penalty goal of the season, while Kyle Palmieri scored the next.
On the flip side, Ilya Sorokin initially succumbed to Evgeny Kuznetsov, before thwarting TJ O’Shea and Niklas Backstrom.
The Caps (34-32-9) didn’t have much wiggle room in their quest to clinch the second draft card. With just seven games left, they’re five points behind the crucial spot held by the Pittsburgh Penguins (36-28-10), who have a game in hand. The Islanders (39-28-9) remained in first place in the team race with 87 points.
After a lackluster first period in which the Islanders didn’t get a shot on the net for 13:28, they still found a way to hit goal first on only their fifth shot of the game, going into the second period. Pierre Engvall eluded the vigilance of Darcy Comber, who was too far back in his semi-circle, by firing into the hole to his right.
Connor Cherry tied the game by scoring with a backhand from the hole.
In the end, Sorokin made 25 saves in the win, while Comber made 28 for his 350th career NHL start.
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