The Florida Panthers had their 20th anniversary celebration of the 1996 Eastern Conference champions as they beat to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night. 21 people formerly with the club were honored by Florida prior to the contest. It was the final game of a three-game homestand for the team.
Florida(38-21-9) pulled out to a 1-0 lead at 10:22 of the first period. Vincent Trocheck sent a lead pass up the right-wing wall to Reilly Smith in the neutral zone. He skated into the Flyers zone and snapped a shot from the top right circle over the left shoulder of Steve Mason.
Philadelphia(32-23-12) tied it 1-1 with 5:24 left in the frame. Sam Gagner stole the puck from Aaron Ekblad in the left corner. He centered it to Nick Cousins in the slot area and he put it past Roberto Luongo.
In the second period, the Flyers got out to their first lead of the game at 13:16 on power play. Matt Read fired a shot from the right wing which was redirected by Gagner in the slot and went off Ryan White into the Florida cage.
The Panthers responded 18 seconds later to tie it at 2-2. Jaromir Jagr controlled the puck to the left of the crease and made a back pass to the low slot. Jonathan Huberdeau put in a one-time slapshot for his 13rd goal this year.
The Flyers struck early in the third period at 1:28 to go ahead 3-2. Evgeny Nevedev fired a shot from the left point which was deflected in by Michael Raffl at the top of the crease.
The Cats followed up with two goals in over a minute to take a 4-3 lead. They first scored on the power play at 8:24 when Nick Bjugstad sent a cross-ice pass from the top right circle to Aleksander Barkov in the left circle and he faked an attempted shot then scored on a wrist shot.
Smith would get his second tally of the game and his 23rd goal of the season at 9:29. Jakub Kindl moved the puck from the left point to Jussi Jokinen in the right circle. He pushed it ahead to Smith in the low slot for a score from close range.
Former South Florida native Shayne Gottisbehere tied it up with 1:55 left in the third. He ripped a high slapshot from the right point off the left glove of Luongo.
The contest was decided in a shootout and Florida scored on their two attempts. Nick Bjugstad made the first one as he put in a snap shot. Barkov followed with his own tally on the Panthers second attempt.