02/20 00:07 CST Saarela's first NHL goal helps Panthers top Ducks 4-1
Saarela's first NHL goal helps Panthers top Ducks 4-1
By DOUG PADILLA
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) --- The Florida Panthers showed a little rebounding
prowess Wednesday, getting a pair of friendly bounces off the Honda Center end
boards to deliver a key 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Vincent Trocheck and Aleksi Saarela each scored second-period goals off
fortuitous rebounds and the Panthers were able to rally from an early deficit.
Aleksander Barkov and MacKenzie Weegar also scored a goal for Florida, while
Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves as the Panthers improved to 2-0 on a key
five-game West Coast road trip.
Florida won consecutive games in California with another at Los Angeles on
Thursday. The Panthers earned a 5-3 victory at San Jose on Monday.
Max Jones scored a goal, while John Gibson had 28 saves for the Ducks, who
dropped the opener of a six-game homestand. The Ducks have lost three of their
past four games and have lost three consecutive home games.
Jones gave the Ducks the early lead with a goal at 16:04 of the first period.
His 10th of the season came unassisted when he raced across the blue line,
picked up a loose puck and fired it off the left shoulder of Bobrovsky and
inside the right post.
The Ducks appeared as if they would take the lead into the first intermission,
but Jonathan Huberdeau fired a perfect pass to Barkov as he rushed to the front
of the Ducks goal and he flipped the puck past Gibson with 2.2 seconds on the
clock to tie the score 1-1. It was Barkov's 18th of the season.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead at 10:50 of the second period when Trocheck cashed
in a break. Riley Stillman's shot past the goal, deflected off the end boards
and back over the Ducks' goal and to Trocheck where he picked it out of the air
with a waist-high swing to score his 10th.
The Panthers received another deflection off the end boards less than four
minutes later when Aaron Ekblad's wide shot rebounded around the goal and into
the left circle where Saarela scored from a sharp angle. It was Saarela's first
career goal in his fourth NHL game.
Weegar's fifth of the season was scored into an empty net with just over two
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, who did participate in morning skate, was a late
scratch with a lower body injury. ... Anaheim was kicking off a six-game
homestand. ... Barkov now has eight points (four goals) over his past 11 games
for the Panthers. ... Mike Hoffman had a goal taken away at 13:10 of the first
period for the Panthers when Mark Pysyk was ruled offsides after a successful
replay challenge from the Ducks. ... The Panthers improved to 7-1-1 on the road
against Western Conference teams.
Panthers: At Los Angeles on Thursday to face the Kings.
Ducks: Home against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.