Blues get down early, can’t recover in 3-1 loss to Panthers
ST. LOUIS — Derek MacKenzie was disappointed in himself after he was stopped on a short-handed breakaway attempt Tuesday night.
He quickly redeemed himself.
MacKenzie scored twice after the missed opportunity in the second period, leading the Florida Panthers to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
"I never know how they go in, they just went in today," he said. "I thought our line deserved it. I think that was just kind of carryover to the hard work those guys put in."
Brandon Pirri also scored for Florida, which has won three in a row. Roberto Luongo made 29 saves.
The Panthers also snapped a six-game losing streak against the Blues.
"It was a great win for us," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We battled hard against a real good hockey team over there. We got some breaks and MacKenzie came up big for us tonight. And obviously Luongo played really good in the net. So we had a good team effort again tonight."
Florida was without center Nick Bjugstad after he suffered an upper-body injury during Monday’s practice.
"He’s pretty irreplaceable," MacKenzie said. "I thought Bollie (Dave Bolland) came in and did a good job for us tonight. Bjugs was certainly missed, especially against big teams like this. He’s a big horse for us and hopefully we’ll see him back soon."
David Backes scored for the Blues. Jake Allen made 12 saves in two periods, and Brian Elliott had eight stops in the third.
The Blues are 4-4-2 over their last 10 games after an 11-3-1 start to the season.
"Everything’s work-based and when you play with a work base, you play in straight lines, you don’t play cute, you get on the grind, you wear teams down," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That’s how we’re built; we didn’t want to play that way today. We didn’t give Florida near the respect they deserve."
After a slow first period that included just seven shots, the Panthers scored three times in the final 7:42 of the second.
Pirri scored on a breakaway, assisted by Aleksander Barkov and Willie Mitchell, after a Vladimir Tarasenko turnover in the offensive zone. The goal, with 7:42 left in the period, was Pirri’s fifth of the season.
Florida scored again just 13 seconds later on a turnaround slap shot by MacKenzie after a turnover by Steve Ott in the defensive zone.
The Blues answered 21 seconds later on a shot from Backes that ricocheted off the skate of Dylan Olsen.
MacKenzie made it 3-1 at 16:41 of the second with his third of the season, a long wrist shot from the slot after a turnover by Kevin Shattenkirk in the neutral zone.
It was MacKenzie’s first two-goal game since March 12, 2011, for Columbus at Carolina. He has 39 career goals in 413 regular-season games over 12 seasons.
"Guys were making fun of him a little bit after his breakaway that he shot right in his chest," Luongo said, "but after that he turned it up to beast mode and buried a couple there."
NOTES: Bolland returned to lineup after he was a healthy scratch the previous three games. … The win was the first for the Panthers in St. Louis since 2009. … The Panthers went 0 for 3 on the power play vs. the Blues after going 0 for 5 against the Red Wings on Sunday. They are 3 for 38 (7.9 percent) on the power play on the road this season.
- Aleksander Barkov
- Brandon Pirri
- Dave Bolland
- Derek MacKenzie
- Dylan Olsen
- Florida Panthers
- FOX Sports Midwest
- Nick Bjugstad
- Roberto Luongo
- Willie Mitchell