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Fleischmann scores winner as Panthers edge Flames 6-5

01/10/2015 12:02 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - In a game that could have gone either way, Thomas Fleischmann was surprised, yet impressed, with the game-winning goal he scored on Friday night.

Just 45 seconds after Matt Stajan counted his second goal of the game for Calgary to tie the game late, Fleischmann lifted a backhand shot over both defenceman Kris Russell and goalie Jonas Hiller at 16:51 of the third period to lead the Florida Panthers to a wild 6-5 win over the Flames.

"It's probably one of the best goals I've scored this year," Fleischmann said. "I went to the net and saw the rebound. Hopefully it comes to me and (it) went to my backhand side so I just pulled it to the side and tried to shoot it high. I don't know where it went because I lost it behind Russell and then I saw the light behind the net so I was happy."

The game featured four lead changes until the Panthers were finally able to preserve the victory, despite having to kill off a penalty to Brad Boyes in the dying minute of the game.

"It's like boxing," Fleischmann said. "You get a shot and you score and then you get another goal scored against you. It wasn't easy. It wasn't easy for (the) coaches for sure. Fun for fans, probably."

Fleischmann, Boyes, Jonathan Huberdeau and Sean Bergenheim all finished with a goal and an assist for the Panthers (19-11-9), who skated to a 3-1 road win over the Vancouver Canucks one night earlier. Jimmy Hayes and Brian Campbell also scored for Florida, while David Bolland had two assists.

"I had a tough night," admitted Florida coach Gerard Gallant after the nerve-racking affair. "It was frustrating all night. I thought we played pretty well overall for back-to-back games and putting all the pucks at the net, so I was satisfied for sure."

Stajan and T.J. Brodie each scored twice for the Flames (21-18-3), who suffered their third straight loss to finish their six-game homestand with a 3-3-0 record. Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist, while Lance Bouma chipped in with three assists.

"It was sort of a roller coaster out there," said Brodie, who had gone 16 games without scoring a goal. "We did well offensively but defensively, we gave them a couple too many chances. We've got to find a way to take those away. I think the big thing is to forget about it and move on."

Florida goalie Al Montoya stopped 29 of 35 shots he faced, perhaps none more important that a pad save he made to thwart a breakaway attempt by Paul Byron shortly after Fleishmann's goal.

"It's been wild in this league, but you just stick with it," Montoya said. "Our team came out hard. At one point, the shots were 7-1 and the score was 1-1. For me, it was just sticking with it. The guys believe in me and they got it done tonight."

Hiller made 25 saves in a losing cause at the other end of the ice.

Stajan opened the scoring at 2:42 of the first when he pounced on a clearing attempt by rookie Florida defenceman Aaron Ekblad and one-timed a shot past a stunned Montoya for his first goal in 15 games. Even though he didn't get an assist, Bouma helped set up the goal with a big hit on Ekblad behind the Florida net to force the turnover.

The Panthers evened the score less than three minutes later when the combo of Boyes and Huberdeau took advantage of a blunder by Hiller behind the Calgary net. Hiller ventured behind his own net and attempted to play the puck to Calgary forward Mason Raymond, but Boyes intercepted the pass and quickly fed Huberdeau in front of the net for an easy goal.

Huberdeau then returned the favour at 13:12 of the opening period when he set up Boyes for a tip-in goal to the top corner behind Hiller before the Flames pulled even thanks to a power-play goal by Brodie at 16:36.

Backlund then scored his second goal in as many games since missing 29 outings with an abdominal injury that required surgery. After his initial shot was blocked by Florida defenceman Dylan Olsen, Backlund picked up the bouncing puck in the slot and snapped a quick shot past Montoya at 2:27 of the second.

The Panthers pulled even once again just 19 seconds later when Bergenheim swatted his own rebound past Hiller.

Brodie put the Flames up 4-3 at 8:13 of the second when he took a pass from Bouma and blasted a point shot through Montoya's legs.

Hayes then took a pass from Jussi Jokinen and snapped a shot past Hiller from the high slot with 2:55 to play in the second.

The Panthers went ahead at 9:29 of the third on a disputed goal by Brian Campbell. Campbell's point shot appeared to deflect off Bergenheim's stick before hitting Hiller in the arm and bouncing into the net. Calgary coach Bob Hartley motioned from the bench that the goal should be disallowed due to a high stick, but the video replay was inconclusive.

Stajan then scored to tie the game once again at 5-5 when he drove hard to the net to swat a rebound past Montoya.

Boyes took a slashing penalty at 17:36 of the third to give Calgary its fifth power-play of the night, but the Flames were unable to capitalize.

"The penalty kill at the end was huge," Gallant said. "They got in the shot lanes. They didn't give them a whole lot of great chances there. It was a big part of the game."

Notes: Defenceman Ladislav Smid returned to Calgary's lineup after missing the past 10 games with a head injury. … As part of Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night, the Flames wore camouflage jerseys during the pre-game skate. … Prior to the game, the Flames and Panthers announced that they swapped minor-league centremen. The Flames sent Corban Knight, who was with the AHL's Adirondack Flames, to the Panthers in exchange for Drew Shore, who was with Florida's farm team, the San Antonio Rampage. … The Flames also placed forward Brian McGrattan on waivers on Friday. McGrattan was a healthy scratch for 13 straight games and appeared in just eight outings with the Flames this season.

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