RECAP: Barkov beats buzzer in OT to lift Panthers to win in Game 1

Is it normal to have so much fun in preseason?

open their exhibition board in an epic way, Alexander Barkov flew up the left side of the ice and scored by less than a second in overtime to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of a double-header at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.

“I know it’s an exhibition but it’s always nicer to win,” said Barkov, who scored a team-best 39 goals last season. “You walk into the room and you have a good feeling. You can build on that.”

Getting a head start on updating his personal highlight film for the 2022-23 campaign, Eetu Luostarinen opened the scoring for the Panthers with an exceptional effort on penalties. The Finnish striker sped into the net in a 2-on-1 onslaught and showed some stellar skill as he completed a between-the-legs pass to himself before lifting a shot over Connor Ingram’s blocker into the top of the line to to make it 1-0 with 43 seconds left in the first period.

“That was nice,” said Barkov, preparing for the goal. “He’s a special player. He has the ability to score goals like that. It’s a lot of fun to watch him. I’m happy to see that every day.”

Also Read :  Biden warns Republicans will ‘crash the economy’ as they vow to use debt limit to force spending cuts

Kai Schwindt extended the lead in the second half and made it 2-0 when he turned and fired a long shot towards Nashville’s net, which trickled past Ingram at 3:41.

“I honestly didn’t go into the game thinking I’d field one, but it definitely feels good,” said Schwindt, a product of the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. “The puck just flew in the air. I grabbed him and tried to throw something into the net and he snuck through. I’m happy to put it in. It definitely feels good.”

The Predators pushed back and got on the board barely a minute after Schwindt’s goal when Juuso Parssinen slipped behind the defense and struck Sergei Bobrovsky with a breakaway to 2: 1 at 4:42. With a bit of luck, the Predators then pulled through when a shot by Roland McKeown from a tight angle deflected off a defender’s bat and hit the net to make it 2-2 (11:45).

About halfway through the period, both goalies were given a breather. Mack Guzda took over for Bobrovsky in Florida’s crease while Devin Cooley relieved Ingram in Nashville’s net.

Guzda, who appeared on his first NHL show, was born and raised in nearby Knoxville, Tennessee.

Also Read :  Q3 GDP beats estimates, MAS tightens monetary policy

“I think my whole family is here,” said Guzda, who stopped 12 of 13 shots to earn the win over the Predators. “I have to visit a lot of people after the game. It was a really cool moment to go to games here as an adult and then come back here to play this game.”

Breaking the Deadlock 2:11 into the third period, Santtu Kinnunen fired a pass off the boards from the blue line to the stick Ryan Lombergwho then met briefly to make it 3:2.

The Predators hit the net for a second time through a deflection to make it 3-3 when Ryan Johansen deflected a quick shot from Nino Niederreiter past Guzda at 14:45.

When the game finally went into overtime, Barkov carried the puck to the left side of the ice before attempting to set up Carter Verhaeghe with center feed. Instead, the wannabe pass clipped a defender’s stick and sailed past Cooley just before the final horn to give the Panthers a dramatic 4-3 win.

“I was just trying to score [Verhaeghe]and I guess it just went in,” Barkov said.

Puck drop for Game 2 of the doubleheader is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Also Read :  RECAP: Knight 'dialed in' during hard-fought loss to Hurricanes

REMARKS

— Hoping to turn a PTO into a contract, Eric Staal got a great opportunity in Game 1 to show what he can do. The 37-year veteran played in all situations against Nashville, firing three shots on goal over the Ice Age’s 18:49 while centering Ryan Lomberg and Aleksi Heponiemi.

— Santtu Kinnunen, who has spent the last four seasons as a pro in Finland, was preparing for his first season in North America and finished first with two assists for the Panthers.

— Even if it’s only the first game of the preseason, Aaron Ekblad didn’t take a break from being a workhorse. Florida’s No. 1 defenseman ran a team-high 27:38 and gave out two assists, including the second assist, in Nashville Alexander Barkov‘s game-winning goal.

— look comfortable on the top line, Rudolf’s Balzer led Florida with four shots on target.

— The Panthers stood tall when they lost a man and produced a perfect 4-on-4 on penalties.

The Florida Panthers will celebrate their 2022-23 home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 19, 2022 at FLA Live Arena. The first 10,000 fans through the doors will receive a commemorative plan courtesy of Bally Sports Florida. click HERE to buy your tickets today!