Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers goalie gives up late goal then flies home as wife is expecting

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their overtime win over the Florida Panthers Wednesday night.
The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their overtime win over the Florida Panthers Wednesday night. AP

As the seconds ticked down in overtime late Wednesday night in Edmonton and early Thursday morning in South Florida, Connor McDavid broke loose with the puck at center ice and charged toward Florida goalie James Reimer.

Reimer's glove wasn't as quick as McDavid's shot.

Although the Florida goalie snapped up McDavid’s backhand and showed officials the puck resting securely in his glove, it was ruled a goal both on the ice and following video review.

The question wasn’t whether Reimer caught the puck. It was where he caught it.

Reimer's glove was wedged inside the goal cage and across the goal line; thereby, it was a goal for Edmonton and a 4-3 overtime win over the Panthers.

“I don't think any goalie would agree with that call,” Reimer told reporters postgame. “I'm sure 20,000 people here thought it went in, but I knew I had it in my glove. I didn't know if it crossed the line or not.

“When I saw the replay, I thought the call might go our way. That's not the way they saw it. You go on with life, and I will take with it what I think I can.

“You just move on. They said my glove was in the net. That's the explanation I got.”

The Panthers protested the call following the video review with Reimer and captain Derek MacKenzie being the most vocal.

“Our concern was one of the officials may have thought the puck went into the net and called it a goal,” MacKenzie said, explaining that video review would have to be conclusive to overturn the on-ice call.

“It could have been inconclusive [video] where you couldn't see the puck. I don't know what they saw.”

Following the game, Reimer left the team to fly back to South Florida as his wife was due to give birth at any time.

Florida recalled Reto Berra from its minor league team. The former Colorado goalie will meet the team in Vancouver.

The goal was McDavid's second of the night as the top pick of the Sunrise draft in 2015 got his first goal against the Panthers to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead in the opening period.

The Panthers, now 0-1-1 on this four-game road trip which continues Friday night in Vancouver, trailed 2-0 before Vincent Trocheck gave them new life late in the first period with his 17th goal of the season and sixth in the past six games including both of Florida's goals in Tuesday's loss in Calgary.

“I'm real proud of them,” said coach Tom Rowe, whose team tied the game on a power play goal in the second.

“We came into an extremely tough building with a lot of elite players and our guys played their hearts out. We obviously have four major guys out of our lineup and for us to come here and do what we did and get a point and have a chance to win the game right to the end says an awful lot about our team.

“The video was clear; they had a good view of it in Toronto, had a view of it on the ice. As tough as it is, it was the right call. ... [Reimer] played his heart out, played an unbelievable game.”

Florida went into the second down 2-1 but found the equalizing goal from a strange source.

Michael Sgarbossa, playing in his 20th NHL game and 11th with the Panthers since being recalled from the minors, scored his first NHL goal on a power play chance with 1:25 left in the period.

The Panthers later took a 3-2 lead when Jaromir Jagr and a host of Panthers went hard at Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot and Greg McKegg got a chunk of the puck with 5:15 remaining.

Florida couldn't hold on, however, as Jordan Eberle tied it a few minutes later.

Then, after an exhaustive overtime period, McDavid saved both teams from a shootout.

“I thought it went in, just because he was already in his net basically,” McDavid said. “It was definitely nice to beat the clock for once. I’ve had two goals kind of called back due to the clock.

“It was definitely good to be on the right side.”

▪ Aside from recalling Berra, the Panthers sent rookie Denis Malgin down to the minors and put Seth Griffith on waivers.

Griffith, whom the Panthers got off waivers earlier this season, had been playing on Florida’s top line for a time. If he clears, he’ll likely head to AHL Springfield as well.

“We want to get him some playing time because I don’t think he was going to get in the lineup any time soon,” Rowe said of Malgin. “It’s not doing him any good to be sitting here and not playing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Friday: Panthers at Canucks

When/where: 10 p.m.; Rogers Arena, Vancouver.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMEN 640.

Series: Vancouver leads 14-10-6.

Scouting report: The Panthers are 0-1-1 on this four-game road trip as stop No. 3 is in Vancouver. The Canucks, which lost to Florida 4-2 in Sunrise back on Dec. 10, snapped a four-game slide with a 1-0 victory over Nashville on Tuesday night. Roberto Luongo is expected to get the start in his old rink; he’s 1-0-1 against the Canucks in Vancouver since coming back to the Panthers in a 2014 trade.

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