If you’ve ever tripped getting out of bed in the morning or spilled coffee on your lap as soon as you sat down in your office chair, you can relate to James Reimer, resident goalie of the Florida Panthers.
Reimer allowed a goal just 15 seconds into Wednesday’s matchup against the Anaheim Ducks and then gave up the game-winner with 1:28 left in the third period as the host Panthers lost 3-2 at the BB&T Center.
In between letting in the first shot of the game and the last one that mattered, Reimer made 22 saves.
His counterpart, Ducks goalie John Gibson, made 40 saves.
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Even with the loss, the Panthers are 4-1-1 in their past six home games. But they have just three out of a possible six points so far in this crucial eight-game home stretch.
If there were good news for the Panthers on Wednesday it was regarding their power play. Since Nov. 2 and entering Wednesday, the Panthers had the second-hottest power play in the NHL, converting on 36.6 percent. During that streak, Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle led Florida with 10 power-play points.
On Wednesday, Florida’s power play went 1-for-3, and Yandle had an assist.
But that wasn’t enough to overcome Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie, who scored two goals — including the game-winner that beat Reimer.
Ritchie has four goals this season, doubling his production in one night.
Anaheim also got a goal from Josh Manson.
Florida got goals from Aaron Ekblad and Evgenii Dadonov. It was the fifth goal this season for Ekblad, passing Yandle for the top spot among Panthers defensemen. For Dadonov, it was his 10th goal, second best on the team.
The Panthers, counting Dadonov’s goal, have scored on the power play in 13 of their past 14 games.
The Ducks opened the scoring with Manson’s shot that went off of Reimer’s glove.
Florida tied the score with just 3:01 elapsed in the second period. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, operating behind the Ducks’ net, found Ekblad in the low slot. Ekblad lifted the puck past Gibson.
With 9:16 elapsed in the second period, a tripping penalty on Anaheim’s Marcus Pettersson gave the Panthers a power play. Seven seconds later, Dadonov deflected a Jonathan Huberdeau shot past Gibson for a 2-1 Panthers lead.
Anaheim closed the second-period scoring three minutes later as Ritchie deflected Pettersson’s shot past Reimer’s stick.
That set the stage for Ritchie’s final heroics.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Yandle played his 738th consecutive game Wednesday, passing Jay Bouwmeester for sole possession of sixth place on the NHL list.
▪ The Panthers and Ducks entered the NHL as expansion teams in 1993. The Panthers have since won one conference title (1996) and two division titles (2012, 2016). The Ducks have won one Stanley Cup (2007), two conference titles and six division titles.
▪ The Panthers elevated surging Jared McCann from third-team center to second, switching spots with Nick Bjugstad. McCann entered Wednesday with three goals in five games.
▪ The Panthers on Friday will play host to the hottest team, the Buffalo Sabres, who have won 10 in a row. The Sabres (17-6-2) are the surprise team of the NHL so far this season, leading the Atlantic Division with 36 points.