SUNRISE (CBSMiami/AP) – The Florida Panthers have become one the NHL’s best shootout teams of late. It certainly helps that they have so many young up-and-coming stars with countless moves that drive goalies crazy.READ MORE: 2 Doral Police Officers Injured In Shooting Near Miami-Dade Police Headquarters; Suspect Killed ID'd By Police
One of those youngsters, Aleksander Barkov, had some help off the ice in developing his winning shootout shot.
Barkov scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the Panthers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Monday night.
Barkov skated in on Marc-Andre Fleury in the seventh round, moved left, and lifted in a one-handed shot to win it.
“We have good goalies to practice against,” he said. “I watched (the move) on YouTube, and I just wanted to try it. This was a special move.”
Barkov said two consecutive games against Pittsburgh felt like “playoff hockey” and that he didn’t feel any pressure during his shootout attempt because Florida wouldn’t have lost if he missed.
“It’s always easier to go when you don’t have to score,” he said.
Florida’s Roberto Luongo made a sprawling glove save, among his seven, on Chris Kunitz in the fourth round.
“I just wanted to bear down in the shootout and make some saves,” Luongo said. “Obviously, it was a huge goal for Barky. He’s got a lot of talent. You can see he has great hands.”
Barkov said Luongo is difficult in practice, as well.
“We practice shootouts against him and we can’t score on him so he’s pretty good, for sure,” Barkov said of Luongo, who also stopped Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist, Derrick Pouliot and Simon Despres.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Panthers in the shootout, all coming since a 3-2 win in Detroit on Dec. 12. Florida is 5-4 in the shootout. Pittsburgh dropped to 2-3.
“I feel like we can win every time in the shootout,” Fleury said. “It’s disappointing to lose like that.”
Jimmy Hayes scored twice in the third period to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
Nick Spaling deflected in a shot for a power-play goal with 4:52 remaining to bring the Penguins within 3-2, and Evgeni Malkin jammed a puck past Luongo to tie it with 3:10 left.
Hornqvist had given Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in the first period, and Jussi Jokinen tied it in the final minute of the second.
Florida took a 2-1 lead when Sean Bergenheim stole the puck along the side boards and passed it to Hayes, who beat Fleury just 22 seconds into the second.READ MORE: Shot Doral Police Officer In Serious But Stable Condition, Second Officer Recovering
Four minutes later, Hayes tapped in Bergenheim’s shot for his ninth goal. But the Penguins got even late to force overtime.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring 4:39 into the game when Hornqvist deflected in Despres’ shot from the blue line for his 12th goal.
Jokinen tied it just after Florida’s third power play ended. He one-timed a pass from Dave Bolland into the net with 37 seconds left.
Jokinen scored 21 goals for Pittsburgh last season before being signed by Florida.
The Penguins (22-6-5) were short-handed due to illness and injury.
Forwards Steve Downie and Brandon Sutter and goalie Thomas Greiss were sent back to Pittsburgh for mumps testing, leaving the Penguins with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Only 19 players dressed for the game.
Jeff Zatkoff was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL as an emergency backup goalie. He missed warmups but arrived in time for the start of the game.
Pittsburgh first-year coach Mike Johnston said his team earned its point.
“That is a good point when you’re down two goals in their building,” he said. “We’re handicapped a bit with so many players in and out of the lineup, new bodies and faces.
“I give our defense a lot of credit. They were under a lot of pressure. That’s a good hockey team over there.”
Crosby said he was surprised he and his teammates couldn’t score in the shootout.
“It’s pretty rare that we don’t,” he said. “You have to give credit to Luongo. He made some good saves.”
After a hard-hitting, high-tension game in Pittsburgh on Saturday – a 3-1 Penguins victory – the clubs played a fairly tame game until late in the second.
Letang upended Nick Bjugstad with a chest-high hit in the Pittsburgh zone. A few minutes later, Bergenheim rocked Bobby Farnham with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit along the side boards.
NOTES: Florida coach Gerard Gallant said Shawn Thornton (lower body) would begin skating after the Christmas break. The injury had been bothering him for three weeks, and he was put on the injured list. … Florida forwards Brad Boyes and Tomas Fleischmann were healthy scratches. … The teams combined for 76 penalty minutes on Saturday, including five majors. … The Penguins and Panthers will meet once more in Pittsburgh on Feb. 22.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)MORE NEWS: South Florida PBA Union President Steadman Stahl On Stress Of Being A Police Officer
[display-posts category=”panthers” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]