Panthers edge Flames in 11-goal thriller
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Tomas Fleischmann impressed — and surprised — even himself with his game-winning goal for the Florida Panthers.
Fleischmann scored with 3:09 left in the third period to lead the Panthers to a wild 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
"It’s probably one of the best goals I’ve scored this year," Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann lifted a backhander over both Calgary defenseman Kris Russell and goalie Jonas Hiller for the winning goal just 45 seconds after Matt Stajan scored his second of the game for the Flames.
"I went to the net and saw the rebound," Fleischmann said. "(It) went to my backhand side, so I just pulled it to the side and tried to shoot it high. I don’t know where it went because I lost it behind Russell and then I saw the light behind the net, so I was happy."
Fleischman, Jonathan Huberdeau, Brad Boyes and Sean Bergenheim all finished with a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Jimmy Hayes and Brian Campbell also scored for Florida, while David Bolland had two assists.
"It’s like boxing," Fleischmann said. "You get a shot and you score, and then you get another goal scored against you. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy for (the) coaches for sure. Fun for fans, probably."
Stajan and T.J. Brodie each scored twice for the Flames, who lost their third straight to finish a six-game homestand at 3-3. Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist, while Lance Bouma added three assists.
"It was sort of a roller coaster out there," said Brodie, who had gone 16 games without a goal. "We did well offensively, but defensively, we gave them a couple too many chances. We’ve got to find a way to take those away. I think the big thing is to forget about it and move on."
Neither goaltender was especially sharp as Florida’s Al Montoya stopped 29 of 35 shots and Hiller made 25 saves.
"It’s been wild in this league, but you just stick with it," Montoya said. "Our team came out hard. At one point, the shots were 7-1 and the score was 1-1. For me, it was just sticking with it. The guys believe in me and they got it done tonight."
Stajan opened the scoring at 2:42 of the first when he pounced on a clearing attempt by rookie Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad and one-timed a shot past a stunned Montoya for his first goal in 15 games. Even though he didn’t get an assist, Bouma helped set up the goal with a big hit on Ekblad behind the Florida net to force the turnover.
The Panthers evened the score less than three minutes later when the combination of Boyes and Huberdeau took advantage of a blunder by Hiller behind the Calgary net. Hiller ventured behind his own net and attempted to play the puck to Calgary forward Mason Raymond, but Boyes intercepted the pass and quickly fed Huberdeau in front of the net for an easy goal.
Huberdeau returned the favor at 13:12 of the opening period when he set up Boyes for a tip-in goal to the top corner behind Hiller to put the Panthers up 2-1.
The Flames pulled even with a power-play goal at 16:36 when Brodie’s shot from the right boards found its way into the net behind Montoya, who got a piece of it with his right pad.
Backlund scored his second goal in as many games since missing 29 outings with an abdominal injury that required surgery. After his initial shot was blocked by Florida defenseman Dylan Olsen, Backlund picked up the bouncing puck in the slot and snapped a quick shot past Montoya at 2:27 of the second.
The Panthers pulled even once again just 19 seconds later when Bergenheim swatted his own rebound past Hiller.
Brodie put the Flames up 4-3 at 8:13 of the second when he took a pass from Bouma and blasted a point shot through Montoya’s legs.
Hayes snapped a shot past Hiller from the high slot with 2:55 to play in the second to tie it at 4.
The Panthers went ahead at 9:29 of the third on a disputed goal by Campbell, whose point shot appeared to deflect off Bergenheim’s stick before hitting Hiller in the arm and bouncing into the net. Calgary coach Bob Hartley motioned from the bench that the goal should be disallowed due to a high stick, but the video replay was inconclusive.
Stajan then scored to tie it again at 5 when he drove hard to the net to swat a rebound past Montoya.
NOTES: D Ladislav Smid returned to Calgary’s lineup after missing the past 10 games with a head injury. … The Flames placed forward Brian McGrattan on waivers on Friday. McGrattan was a healthy scratch for 13 straight games.