The Florida Panthers are really starting to like shootouts.
Dave Bolland scored the winning goal in the tiebreaker to lead the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Brandon Pirri also had a goal in the shootout for Florida (14-8-8), which played beyond regulation for the fourth straight game while winning its third straight shootout.
"As long as they end like this, we feel great about it," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We’ve been in so many, we should be getting good at them."
The Panthers were coming off Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Washington that set an NHL record by going 20 rounds in the shootout. Nick Bjugstad scored the winning tally in the shootout of that game but missed in his chance against Philadelphia. They also scored a 3-2 shootout win at Detroit on Dec. 12.
This one took six rounds as only Pirri and Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek scored in the three regulation rounds of the shootout. And neither team managed a goal in the fourth or fifth rounds. After Bolland beat Steve Mason low, Roberto Luongo stopped Sean Couturier to send the Panthers to the win.
"We’re finding ways to at least get it overtime and then we’ll take our chances in OT or a shootout," Luongo said.
Florida improved to 4-4 in shootouts while Philadelphia dropped to 0-5.
"Some guys are good at shootouts; some guys aren’t," Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said. "We work on it. It’s probably a mental thing, more than anything, now."
Scottie Upshall scored in regulation for Florida while Voracek had Philadelphia’s goal.
With the victory, Luongo tied Mike Vernon for 12th all-time in wins among goalies with 385. He came up huge in overtime.
Luongo stopped Mark Streit with 1:35 left in overtime with a strong glove save on a hard wrist shot from the slot and then made a sprawling save on Andrew MacDonald’s attempt on a 4-on-2 with 20 seconds left. Luongo finished with 25 saves.
"They kept trying to work the glove," Luongo said. "I was able to get a good look. That’s my job to come up with a big save there."
Said Gallant, "Real key saves. They probably should’ve won the game in overtime but he made the saves."
The Flyers ended on a four-game homestand 2-1-1.
"To me, we’re at home, we should get two points," Berube said. "We have to create more opportunities offensively."
Philadelphia begins an eight-game road trip on Saturday at Toronto, with their next home game Jan. 6. The Flyers 3-9-3 on the road this season.
Upshall put the Panthers in front 1-0 with 10:23 left in the first period when he batted Tomas Kopecky’s cross-ice pass out of the air, off the post and in. The goal stood after an officials’ review.
Florida had a goal waved off earlier in the period when the officials ruled after a review that Sean Bergenheim played the puck with a high stick.
The Panthers had the best chance to go ahead in a back-and-forth third period, but Mason stopped Pirri from close range with 9 minutes remaining.
Mason had 30 saves.
Luongo made a good pad save on Luke Schenn’s wrister from the right circle with 3 minutes left in regulation.
Voracek scored his 12th of the season 4:07 into the second period on a wrist shot from close range after being set up by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from behind the net.
Voracek, who entered second in the league in points, upped his points total to 38.
Vincent Lecavalier returned to the ice after missing seven straight games as a healthy scratch.
NOTES: The Flyers snapped their streak of eight straight games with a power-play goal. … It was the third and final meeting of the season between the teams, with Florida winning two of three. … Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds went scoreless after getting six goals in his last six contests.