ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Florida Panthers began their five-game road trip near the back of a crowded field in the Eastern Conference playoff race. After sweeping the trip they’re near the top of the Atlantic Division.
Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
“It felt like we won the Stanley cup for just a second,” Trochek said. “I think to do it with four seconds on the clock, we showed a lot of poise there in the third period, even when they tied it up.”
Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip — their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.
Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.
The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.
“It’s a great group of players and everybody deserves it,” said Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe, “It’s been a long season, it’s been a hard season and now everything is coming together but again we’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be a dog fight until the end of the season.”
Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row.
“We had 30 seconds left to salvage a point in a game that we played not good,” Allen said. “Those are huge points right now. Couldn’t end up with two points and it slipped away.”
Marchessault opened the scoring when he beat Allen short side for his 17th goal of the season in the middle of the first period.
Brodziak tied about three minutes into the second when he put Ryan Reaves’ rebound past Reimer for his seventh.
Trocheck won it with his team-leading 21st.
St. Louis dominated the offensive action in the first period, outshooting Florida 12-8. The Panthers then outshot the Blues 25-15 the rest of the way.
St. Louis dropped to 7-3 under Mike Yeo and remains third in the Central Division, three points ahead of Nashville. The Blues don’t play again until visiting Chicago on Sunday.
“We should have a bad taste in our mouth for a couple days,” Yeo said. “We’ve got this break now and what I hope happens is we take some time to think about our situation as far as finishing off the season, and the situation that we’re in.”
NOTES: St. Louis C Paul Stastny returned after missing four games with a lower-body injury. … St. Louis LW Alexander Steen played his 800th career NHL game. … Florida D Keith Yandle played in his 609th consecutive game, the second longest active streak in the NHL. … Trocheck has scored a point in six consecutive games.
Panthers: Host Edmonton on Wednesday night to start a four-game homestand
Blues: At Chicago on Sunday.
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