« SANTA'S NOT ONLY THING COMING TO TOWN: Tim Hortons to Open at Sunrise Arena | Main | 20 YEARS OF THE PANTHERS »

SHOOTOUT THE LIGHTS: Panthers Newcomers Fuel Shootout Improvement

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers seem to be much more confident when it comes to games going to shootouts than in years past. Credit some new additions for that.

In Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over visiting Detroit, the Panthers got goals from rookie Aleksander Barkov and newcomer Brad Boyes. Goalie Tim Thomas, who signed with Florida during training camp, made saves on two of Detroit's three shots.

Florida, one of the worst teams in shootouts since it was introduced in 2005, is 3-4 in the bonus round this season with nine goals on 21 shots.

Thomas is 3-1 in shootouts this year and 33-28 overall.

"Look at our personnel, look at Timmie,'' coach Peter Horachek said when asked what Florida's difference has been this year. "When you have the goaltending, you can win with that if you get just one. Our shooters have been pretty good. When you have guys who can finish and have the goaltending, you can go into those with confidence.''

Barkov's shot was a thing of beauty, as he walked in on Detroit's Jimmy Howard and moved left. Howard bit and Barkov slid the puck to his right and tucked it into the net.

"That's a really good move,'' Thomas said after the game. "He's done it to me a few times in practice. .-.-. I got him the first time. He didn't sell it as well as he should have. The second time he sold it and there's nothing you can do.''

Barkov said he used that move a few times in Finland last year and obviously worked on it against Thomas.

"I like this move, I think it's easy to do because I have a long reach. It's good for me,'' Barkov said. "It's nice to score a goal.''

Boyes retook the NHL lead for active players with his 35th goal Tuesday - one better than Minnesota's Zach Parise. Tuesday's shot was his 11th career game-decider as he is 4-for-5 in shootouts this year.

On Tuesday, Boyes shot third and got to see what Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau did against Howard. Boyes went in hard and fired a shot through Howard's skates.

"A long time ago I decided to pick something as I was going in and stick with it,'' Boyes said. "After that, it's been pretty good. I've had some success with it.''

-- The Panthers were scheduled to have an afternoon practice Wednesday at the arena but Horachek cancelled it at the last minute following off-ice workouts.

"They worked hard last night,'' Horachek said, adding the team did a lot in the weight room as well.

The practice was scheduled for the arena because the team was holding its annual holiday party at the arena that night.

Since the equipment is already set up at the arena, Thursday's practice will be held there as well. It is not open to the general public.

 

Comments