The Florida Panthers have struggled to score but hope their best offensive showing yet can serve as a springboard.
With their goaltender bouncing back after a rough first few starts, the Arizona Coyotes are looking to rediscover what appeared to be a promising offense.
Florida seeks its third win in four games Saturday night when it visits the Coyotes.
The Panthers (2-2-2) have won two of three on a four-game trip after opening with three consecutive losses. They claimed a 4-3 overtime victory over Colorado on Tuesday night on Brad Boyes’ power-play goal.
Boyes also assisted on Aleksander Barkov’s first-period score, helping Florida gain a 2-0 advantage after it had not previously scored in the first 20 minutes this season. The Panthers surrendered three unanswered goals in the second, including two on the power play, before Sean Bergenheim tied the game at the 17:41 mark.
Though Florida needed overtime to win, coach Gerard Gallant was encouraged by the performance considering his team has the NHL’s second-fewest goals (9) and is scoring on 5.2 percent of its shots. The Panthers were second-to-last in the league last season with 2.3 goals per game and their 7.7 shooting percentage ranked 27th.
"You saw it. You get pretty frustrated," Gallant said of Tuesday’s squandered lead. "The good thing is we battled back after getting pretty frustrated, taking some penalties and they scored some power-play goals. The guys held their composure. We knew we played a good first half of the game, battled back to tie it up."
The Coyotes (2-3-1) have lost three straight after falling 2-0 at Minnesota on Thursday. They had 26 shots turned aside, 14 others blocked and came up empty on two power-play opportunities after scoring six times on 17 chances in the previous four games. Phoenix had scored three-plus goals in three of four.
Mikkel Boedker is scoreless in three straight after tallying five goals through the first three contests. No other Coyote has more than two goals.
Mike Smith looked better in net with 27 saves after posting a 5.34 goals-against average in his first three starts.
"We still had a lot of guys try real hard. We just have to find a way to score," coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought (Mike) was very good. We didn’t give him any support with goals. He made some big saves for us. I thought he came back and played a real strong game for us."
Smith is 4-0-1 with a 1.67 GAA in his last five starts against the Panthers.
Martin Hanzal, who had 40 points in 65 games with the Coyotes last season, missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury. Right wing David Moss is day to day after leaving with an upper-body injury.
The Coyotes have won three straight in the series and lost once in regulation in the last 12 meetings, going 8-1-2 with a tie. They’re 5-1-2 with three ties at home against the Panthers since relocating to Arizona for the 1996-97 season.