(photo: Fox Sports)

Saturday night the Florida Panthers looked to end their three game home stand with a victory against the Washington Capitals. The Panthers had hopes Jaromir Jagr could return to the lineup after his presence was missed the previous night against Boston, but he was scratched once again.

Florida didn’t get the win, but the home crowd saw its first 3-on-3 overtime of the season. Evgeny Kuznetsov secured the victory for Washington at 3:44 of overtime, on pass from Alex Ovechkin after the Capitals won an offensive zone face-off. Al Montoya got the start in net after Roberto Luongo played the night before.

The game was chippy at times, and Montoya was forced to make several clutch saves, though neither he nor Washington’s rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer were tested very often through the first period. Jussi Jokinen finally opened the scoring at 2:47 of the second with assists from Dave Bolland and Alex Petrovic.

Jay Beagle knotted things up at 1-1 with assists from Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams at 2:23 in the third. The Panthers used their coach’s challenge as they felt Montoya had been interfered with. The goal was not overturned, however. Whatever contact was made with Montoya was deemed inconsequential to his goalkeeping abilities.

Montoya did feel that he was interfered with, but accepted the ruling

“-that’s the call. That’s hockey. It’s a quick game.”

While they thought they could have won, nobody was overly frustrated about the loss as the team did play well.

“We played another good game tonight. We take a big point out of tonight, but I thought we could have gotten a little bit better than that,” coach Gerard Gallant told Fox Sports Florida. “We competed, we battled. It was disappointing to lose in overtime, but it was fun. The overtime was fun.”

So far the impression of the new overtime format seems to be good. Montoya said he prefers it to the shootout, even if his first taste resulted in a loss.

“It could have gone either way and that’s great. I like it better than the shootout, I guess, even though we were at the losing end of that. We had our chances, they had their chances. Those points would be huge, but it’s good to get that one point we needed to get.”

The three stars of the game simply went to the overtime hero and both goalies for their impressive performances in such a tight match.

1st ☆ EVGENY KUZNETSOV

2nd ☆ PHILIPP GRUBAUER

3rd ☆ AL MONTOYA


 

Tonight the Panthers begin their three game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks. Jaromir Jagr is expected to be back in the lineup after missing both games this weekend, which is great news for the Panthers who have desperately needed the offense the 43 year-old provides. Last season Florida had Anaheim’s number in both contests, but that’s no indicator of how tonight will go. Hopefully the team will be able to stay out of penalty trouble, shake off the last two losses, and gather enough energy from the return of Jagr to kick off their road trip with a W.

Born in the “non-traditional” hockey market of South Florida, Elizabeth (Beth) quickly grew to love the sport at a very young age after her Buffalo-bred family introduced her to the Sabres. High school friends who didn’t care about hockey couldn't understand her withdrawals during the 2004-05 lockout, but college would bring a hockey loving boyfriend (and best friend) to whom she could finally relate. A South Florida native himself, and an avid Florida Panthers fan, he got her into the home team. Together they work for their college hockey club (the FAU Owls), broadcasting games. Beth is a huge USA Hockey fan and hopes to see them win Olympic gold in her lifetime. Between her 2 favorite NHL teams, her college squad, and USA Hockey, it's hard to tell which team she loves most, but she is passionate about them all.

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