Bobrovsky comes up big as Panthers defeat Golden Knights 2-1
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as the Florida Panthers defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Tuesday night, ending Vegas' three-game winning streak.
Ryan Lomberg and Aleksander Barkov each scored a goal for the Panthers, which has now won two in a row as they kept pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Florida is 4-1-0 all-time against the Golden Knights in Sunrise.
Shea Theodore scored the lone goal of the game for Vegas. Adin Hill made 40 saves in the loss.
"We chased the game the whole night and never caught up to them,’’ Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We stayed in the game, which was good. … But you got to be ready when the puck drops. And they were; we weren’t.”
Florida opened the scoring at 4:25 on a blistering snapshot off the stick of Lomberg for his ninth goal of the season.
“We needed a big start and I think the guys responded," Lomberg said. "For the last chunk of games, there has been no doubt that guys are going to show up. These are all big games and this was a big win for us. No surprise the guys came ready to play.”
The Panthers extended their lead at 4:05 of the second when Barkov one-timed a pass from Anthony Duclair from 5 feet in front of the net.
Even through the two teams traded a bunch of scoring chances, the score remained 2-0 until Theodore fired off a shot from just inside the blue line which avoided traffic and beat Bobrovsky halfway through the second.
Bobrovsky ended up making 10 saves in the third period.
“I think we could have played better especially in that second,” Barkov said, “but (Bobrovsky) was excellent in the game, as always, and kept us in it. It is huge to have a goalie like that, playing at a level like that. It is amazing and we are really confident playing in front of him.’’
NOTES: All-Star forward Matthew Tkachuk appeared to be hurt after blocking a shot with 6:37 remaining in the game. Tkachuk appeared to be in pain on the ice and crawled to the bench where he was helped to the team’s dressing room. He returned a few shifts later. Panther coach Paul Maurice said he thought he was going to be fine. … Linesman Tommy Hughes left the game in the second period and did not return due to injury. The game went on with two referees and one linesman. … With his goal, Barkov moved within seven points of former linemate Jonathan Huberdeau for the franchise points lead. Barkov has 606 points since Florida selected him with the No. 2 selection of the 2013 draft. … In Hill’s previous start on last Friday, his 100th NHL game, he set the Vegas franchise record with 47 saves in a win against the Devils. Hill came into Tuesday 6-1-0 since the All-Star break. … Defenseman Casey Fitzgerald was a healthy scratch by Florida, Vegas did not dress Nicolas Roy, Pavel Dorofeyev, Ben Hutton and William Carrier.
Golden Knights: Visit Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Panthers: Host Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
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George Richards, The Associated Press