After 60 minutes of regular time, five minutes of overtime and five sessions of a shootout, Michael Frolik’s beautiful backhander gave the Florida Panthers a much needed 2-1 win over the Coyotes on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. At the end of the season, the Coyotes are going to look at this one as one that got away.
Phoenix got off to a good start in the first period, but were held scoreless by Panthers goaltender, Scott Clemmensen, who was giving regular starter Tomas Vokoun the night off. Florida seized the momentum halfway through the second period with a goal by Frolik. Nearly six minutes later though, Martin Hanzal tied it up on the power play after a shot was deflected off of his body that gave him his seventh goal on the season.
After an even third period between the two teams, the overtime session was one that even the non-hockey fan could have enjoyed. The Coyotes were shorthanded for the final 3:25 of the extra period, including 36 seconds when the Cats had a two man advantage on a 5-on-3. The Coyotes held on though to send it to the shootout behind some remarkable saves from Ilya Bryzgalov. Phoenix had a chance to win it in the final minute, but Keith Yandle was stopped on a breakaway chance by Clemmensen.
In the shootout, Radim Vrbata and Scottie Upshall scored for the Yotes while Mike Santorelli and Stephen Weiss. After a nice save from Clemmensen on Lauri Korpikoski, Frolik simply abused Bryzgalov to give the Panthers their first and only win on their four-game road trip.
It was certainly a lost opportunity for Phoenix with a struggling team coming in to close out their road trip, but there are still many positives to take away from this game. It appears that Bryz is back on track after playing poorly in two straight losses. He showed how great he can be at times in that overtime period. The power play was much better. It could have been a perfect night for the PP unit, but Clemmensen came up with some huge saves when his team was a man down.
The Desert Dogs can’t dwell on their loss as they head to Anaheim to face the Ducks. The puck will drop at 6 p.m.