Ducks can’t tame Panthers after controversial disallowed goal

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks fell 2-1 to the Panthers, but the game's result was surrounded by controversy after a tying goal was disallowed.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Ducks welcomed in some familiar faces when the Florida Panthers came to town on Friday night. Anthony Stolarz and Dmitry Kulikov––who was traded to the Penguins at last season’s trade deadline––made their returns to Honda Center after signing with the Panthers in the offseason. Brandon Montour also returned to Honda Center, though this was not his first return since leaving the Ducks, while fellow former Duck Josh Mahura missed out due to a lower-body injury suffered in last night’s game against the Kings.

You wouldn’t know the Panthers had just played a game last night, as they controlled the tempo for most of the game. Two goals late in the first period from Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave Florida the lead and Stolarz made some big stops to keep the Ducks off the board.

Turnovers were a common theme for Anaheim as they struggled to establish offensive zone time throughout the game. The Panthers’ second goal came directly off a turnover after Jackson LaCombe was unable to clear the puck out of the zone.

Anaheim would get one back in the third on the power play, with Frank Vatrano potting his fifth power play goal and 12th goal in total. The game was not wrought with controversy as Jakob Silfverberg appeared to tie the game with 11:11 remaining in the third period. The Swede curled around the net before jamming the puck into Stolarz’s pads. Replays appeared to show the puck over the goal line. However, the call on the ice was “no goal” upon video review.

“I really don’t have anything to say,” said Ducks head coach Greg Cronin after the game. “I think anyone that watched the replay can form their own opinion. I really don’t know what to say. I saw the same thing that 15-16,000 people saw. I have to respect what they saw in Toronto, I guess. I don’t know.”

Silfverberg thought he had scored as well, but said that the disallowed goal didn’t take the fight out of them late in the game. “After (the disallowed goal), we responded well and kept on pushing. Tough loss but it is what it is. Maybe we’ll get a bounce next time.”

The Ducks had another strong push in the third period, but that was counteracted by a slow start to the game. The shots on goal finished in a 35-35 tie, but Anaheim was outshot in both the first and second periods.

Nov 17, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz (41) makes a save against Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously not the start we wanted in the first period or the second period, for that matter,” said Silfverberg. “I think we kind of worked our way in the second period, but I think if you want to put on a strong performance, I think if we can start like we did in the third, I think we’ll play some good hockey.”

“When we play a measured game, we play on our heels,” said Cronin. “And that’s what happened the first two periods. As a staff, we’ve got to figure out a way to get our guys to play on our toes from opening faceoff.”