Hostilities boil over after Panthers' streak ends with OT loss to Canucks

BY foxsports • January 12, 2016

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The longest winning streak in Florida Panthers history ended with a power-play goal and a few postgame punches.

Daniel Sedin scored his second of the night with a shot off the crossbar and in past Roberto Luongo at 2:21 of overtime, and the Vancouver Canucks beat Florida 3-2 on Monday to stop the Panthers' 12-game run.

With the Canucks celebrating on the ice and the Panthers heading to their dressing room, the teams came together near the benches with a lot of pushing and shoving. Vancouver forward Derek Dorsett engaged backup goalie Al Montoya before players from both sides began throwing punches as officials tried to break up the scrum.

"One of their guys came over to our bench and tried to punch one of our guys," Luongo said. "You have 60 minutes to fight anybody on our team that's willing and able, but he wants to do it after the game."

Dorsett said one of the Panthers yelled something that Henrik Sedin deemed "unacceptable."

"(The Sedins) don't get mad too often and they were pretty mad," Dorsett said. "I saw Montoya and (Florida defenseman Alex) Petrovic jawing with them and trying to squirt them with water so I skated over to intervene and Montoya took a cut at me so I took a cut at him."

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant was yelling at Canucks assistant Glen Gulutzan during the melee, but the teams were eventually separated.

"You want to get in there and stick up for those guys," said Vancouver rookie forward Jake Virtanen, who had his team's other goal. "I don't really know what happened. I know there was a lot of guys in there."

The postgame spat somewhat overshadowed Daniel Sedin's winner on a great shot with Jaromir Jagr off for hooking. With his 346th goal, Daniel Sedin tied Markus Naslund's franchise record.

"He was an idol growing up," Daniel Sedin said after scoring his 19th of the season. "He meant so much to us when we came into this league."

Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves for Vancouver (17-16-10), which finished 4-2-1 on its longest homestand of the season.

Jussi Jokinen and Jonathan Huberdeau had the goals for the Panthers (26-12-5), who were looking to become just the ninth team in NHL history to win 13 straight games.

"We could have won this game 4-1, but sometimes the breaks, they don't go in your favor," said Luongo, who made 27 saves but had his nine-game winning streak snapped. "We had a bunch of breaks during the streak. A couple went against us tonight and we're on the wrong side of the score."

Virtanen beat Luongo to the short side to get the Canucks even with 2:38 left in regulation.

The rookie's second goal of the season came after Markstrom made a couple of great saves to keep his team in it, including a stop on Steven Kampfer on a 3-on-1 moments before the equalizer.

"They've been on quite a streak," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "I thought as a group we were hungry. We wanted to try and break their streak."

Down 2-0 after the first, the Canucks got one back at 5:41 of the second when Daniel Sedin finished off a nice passing play with his twin brother by whipping a backhand past Luongo.

Part of the trade that sent Luongo back to Florida from Vancouver in March 2014, Markstrom made a nice pad stop on Aleksander Barkov later in the period to keep the Canucks down by just one heading into the third.

The Panthers, coming off a 2-1 victory in Edmonton on Sunday, opened the scoring 80 seconds into the first when Reilly Smith jumped on Markstrom's poor clearing attempt and fed Jokinen, who scored his sixth of the season.

Luongo spent parts of eight seasons in Vancouver and was serenaded with familiar "Luuuu" chants from the crowd periodically throughout the night, especially after great saves on Daniel Sedin, Bo Horvat, Emerson Etem and Jared McCann to keep his team in front.

The Panthers rewarded that strong play with 32.3 seconds left in the first when Huberdeau beat Markstrom upstairs off the rush to make it 2-0.

"We've been playing close games a little bit too much," Huberdeau said. "At least we got a point and are ready for the next game."

NOTES: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad missed the game with an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit from Oilers forward Matt Hendricks on Sunday. The NHL announced late Monday that Hendricks has been suspended for three games. ... Etem made his Canucks debut after coming over in a trade with the New York Rangers on Friday. ... Markstrom made his eighth straight start in place of Ryan Miller, who dressed as Vancouver's backup for the second game in a row after missing six with a groin injury.

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