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The Florida Panthers played in front of their largest crowd of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night – 15,947 – and they witnessed one heck of a move by center Aleksander Barkov to win in the shootout.
In the seventh round of the shootout, Barkov skated in on Marc-Andre Fleury. He went from this forehand to his backhand. Fleury expected him to bring the puck back to his left, perhaps to go five-hole. Barkov, instead, just flicked the puck past Fleury’s left pad for the game-winner.
The Panthers won, 4-3.
"This was a big win for us,'' Barkov said. "The past two games have been like playoff hockey.''
Granted, the Penguins were down around 10 regular players, including three sent back to Pittsburgh under suspicion of having the mumps.
Youth might have been on Barkov’s side. He’s 19 years old. Fleury said after the game that he’s familiar with some of the Panthers shooters; but “that last one, I didn’t know about that one.”
Now he knows.