Florida Panthers lose a shootout in Tom Rowe's coaching debut
Tom Rowe is now 0-1 as an NHL coach.
Well, 0-0-1 to be all technical about it as the Florida Panthers picked up a point in Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the host Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Artemi Panarin scored the winner for the Blackhawks after Florida’s Roberto Luongo stopped 32 shots in the opening 65 minutes.
Corey Crawford, who made two stops on Vincent Trocheck and Sasha Barkov in the shootout, had 38 saves before the skills session commenced.
Rowe, Florida’s general manager and interim head coach, replaced Gerard Gallant behind the bench after Gallant was fired following Sunday’s loss to the host Carolina Hurricanes.
The loss dropped Florida to 6-2 in games decided in overtime and 2-2 in shootouts.
“We earned a point and actually, I thought we deserved two points,” Rowe said afterward. “It didn’t work in our favor, but we have a lot to build on.”
The Panthers caught a break late in the tied game when Patrick Kane was cited for high sticking with just 20 seconds left in regulation — giving Florida 1:40 of power play time in overtime and the 4-on-3 advantage yet couldn’t score.
Aaron Ekblad was also stopped in the closing seconds of overtime for Crawford’s 38th save of the night.
“You don’t want to hang your heads; I thought it was a positive game for us,” Ekblad said. “We came into their building, played a great team and skated with them. We controlled a lot of the game ... We had a lot of chances, limited there. We have a lot of positives to take out of this.”
Florida trailed for the tail end of the first and all of the second but got the equalizer on Jagr’s play in front of the net less than a minute into the third.
Jagr’s goal, his fourth of the year, came on Florida’s second power play of the period and one that bled into the third after Niklas Hjalmarsson was flagged for hooking with 52 seconds left in the second.
Florida failed to take its first lead six minutes later when Derek MacKenzie hit the post and watched Crawford make a save after he was tripped up by his own teammate and was without his stick.
Chicago opened the scoring late in the first period when Chicago forced a turnover along the boards in the Florida zone and sprung free for a breakaway. After Marcus Kruger dug the puck out, he fed Dennis Rasmussen who in turn sent a sweet pass toward Richard Panik.
Panik beat Florida defenseman Jakub Kindl through the neutral zone and was off the races and beat Luongo with 2:10 left before the first intermission.
The Chicago goal came not long after Florida’s snakebit top-line center Sasha Barkov was stopped on a pair of prime scoring chances.
Barkov made a great shot that Crawford just got a piece of. Moments later on the same shift, Barkov got the puck in the crease with an wide-open corner but couldn’t roof the puck in time.
Tuesday marked the 21st consecutive game Barkov has failed to score in – the longest such drought of his hockey-playing life. Florida hasn’t received a game goal from Barkov – he has scored in Florida’s previous two shootout rounds before being stopped Tuesday – since the second game of the season against the Red Wings.
“The thing that impresses the heck out of me is [Barkov] is cool as a cucumber on that bench,” Rowe said. “Players like that, it’s going to break. And when it does, it’s going to be big.”
Florida will likely play its final game at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night. The Wings are moving to a new downtown arena a few miles away next season.