EditorsNote: last graf, adds word ‘shots’ at end
Adam Silfverberg scored with 4:43 to play as the Anaheim Ducks continued to play spoiler with a 3-2 victory Sunday against the visiting Florida Panthers.
Devin Shore and Adam Henrique also scored goals, and Ryan Getzlaf had a pair of assists as the Ducks (30-35-9, 69 points) won for the sixth time in their past nine games, with all six of those victories coming against teams either currently in a qualifying position for the playoffs or fighting to become eligible.
The Panthers (32-28-12, 76 points) were the furthest out from eligibility in that group, but their hopes had been raised with a four-game winning streak that had them believing they could grab the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. That possibility took a major blow Sunday.
Other victims in the Ducks’ current run include the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche twice.
Evgenii Dadonov and Aaron Ekblad scored goals for Florida, while Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov each assisted on both goals as the Panthers remained eight points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are in the second wild-card spot. The Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers are ahead of the Panthers in the standings.
Silfverberg came away with an opportunistic goal when he slid his 22nd of the season past Panthers rookie goaltender Sam Montembeault, who had lost his stick. Rickard Rakell fed Silfverberg out front, with Montembeault unable to knock the pass away without his stick.
The goal left Silfverberg one short of his career best set in the 2016-17 season.
The Ducks wasted little time taking a 1-0 lead, as Shore scored 1:29 into the game when he found a loose puck in front and beat Montembeault on the power play for his ninth of the season. It took the Panthers 11 seconds into the second period to tie the game 1-1, when Dadonov scored his 25th of the season off a feed from Huberdeau.
The Ducks regained the lead 12 minutes later when Henrique scored his 17th of the season. Getzlaf started a break when he sent Henrique forward with a pass off the boards, and Henrique put a move on both Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar to score.
The Panthers got even again at 3:33 of the third period when Ekblad scored his 13th of the season. Huberdeau picked up his second assist of the game and 55th of the season when he made the feed from the slot, and Ekblad redirected the puck past Ducks goaltender John Gibson.
Gibson finished with 37 saves, while Montembeault stopped 19 shots.
—Field Level Media