VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Aleksander Barkov scored the deciding goal in the shootout and the Florida Panthers beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 Friday night.
Sam Reinhart scored in regulation for Florida, and Spencer Knight stopped 27 shots in the win. The Panthers are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games.
“We have to stick together, stick with it,” Knight said. “Not scoring can be frustrating and staying with it, and then just waiting for a chance and that’s the way it is sometimes. We’re not going to score five goals every night. We’ve got to find a different ways to win.”
Alex Chiasson scored in the first period for Vancouver. Spencer Martin, making his fourth NHL start and first in nearly five years with Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak in COVID-19 protocols, had 33 saves.
“I just felt incredibly blessed knowing how hard it is to get to this level and how many experiences (it takes) to get opportunities,” the 26-year-old Martin said. “But it felt incredible to get an opportunity.”
Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver in the first round of the tiebreaker and Anton Lundell tied it for Florida in the second round.
Vancouver was playing at home for the first time since Dec. 14 and fell to 10-3-2 since Bruce Boudreau replaced Travis Green on Dec. 5.
Martin came in with an 0-2-1 career record while playing three games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2017. He has split this season between the Canucks’ taxi squad and Abbotsford of the AHL, where he is 5-0-2 with a 2.24 goals-against average.
He was excited to play in an NHL game again.
“I wasn’t as amped up as I thought I’d be given how much it meant to me to get a game,” he said. “But (the rest of the team) really kept it simple from a goalie standpoint so they made it easy for me.”
The Canucks were also without forwards Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Conor Garland in COVID-19 protocols.
To earn a point against one of the NHL’s top teams under trying circumstances was important for the Canucks.
“I hope it gives them belief that when you play the right way — and we played the right way tonight — that you can play with anybody,” Boudreau said. “That’s pretty well what the message is. We played a hungry team tonight.”
The Canucks got on the scoreboard first when Quinn Hughes' point shot on a power play was tipped by Tanner Pearson and then went in off Chiasson's jersey.
The Panthers tied at 1:51 of the third when Reinhart batted the puck out of the air and past Martin on a power play.
“(Reinhart’s) such a big part of our team and such an important piece that we can move him around all over and he’s been really good on the power play,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “The power play has been really good of late and that was a huge goal for us because you get in those games where you get the goaltender on the other side that it’s his first start and he’s feeling it, and we’re having trouble really getting anything by him, so it was a huge goal at the right time.”
Panthers: At Seattle on Sunday night.
Canucks: Host St. Louis on Sunday night.