Corey Perry scored the game-tying goal on a power play with 5.1 seconds left in regulation and the Anaheim Ducks went on to edge the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout after Chris Stewart's fourth-round conversion.
After a scoreless first period that saw the Ducks out-shoot the Cats 14-6, Orange County native Rocco Grimaldi opened the scoring at the 5:01 mark of the second.
Quinton Howden forced a turnover near the blue line and Derek MacKenzie picked up the biscuit and stormed in on Ducks starter Frederik Andersen. MacKenzie dropped the puck to Howden, he tipped it back through his legs back to Grimaldi, and the rookie fired it home for his second NHL goal and first of the season.
Anaheim would strike back just 2:49 later on a goal from a hard-working Stewart.
Erik Gudbranson blocked Stewart's initial bid, but the determined Duck kept the play alive and eventually beat Roberto Luongo with a rising shot from a bad angle, one second after a Panther penalty expired. Kevin Bieksa and Shawn Horcoff picked up helpers on the even-strength marker.
The Cats regained the lead when karma smiled on Gudbranson with 2:03 left in the middle frame.
After taking a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad flung a shot on Andersen that was easily turned aside. The rebound leaked out to Gudbranson, who stepped in and ripped it into the back of the net for his first of the campaign.
The Ducks poured on the pressure in the third, but Luongo held firm and Florida was forty seconds away from pulling out an unlikely win when Brian Campbell was called for high-sticking Perry.
The Ducks star finally notched his first of the season, collecting a loose puck in front and putting it past Luongo after Ryan Kesler's shot from the point was blocked. Hampus Lindholm was credited with the secondary assist.
The game would go to overtime where the Cats would have the best chance at winning it, but Andersen denied Reilly Smith on a 2-on-0 break, as well as two subsequent rebound stuff attempts.
Brandon Pirri, who was robbed by Andersen early in the third, got some revenge on the Anaheim keeper to give the Panthers the lead after the first round of the skills competition.
Shootout ace Jakob Silfverberg would get the goal right back to even things up to open round two.
Andersen denied Vincent Trocheck and Bjugstad to set the plate for Stewart in the fourth round.
The veteran winger slowly cruised in on Luongo, eventually beating him with a low backhand.
It was up to Huberdeau to extend the game, but Andersen had other ideas, making a solid stop to give the Ducks the bonus point.
Tar & Feathers
- Jaromir Jagr returned to the lineup and logged 18:23 TOI, finishing with one shot on goal and +1 rating.
- Joanthan Huberdeau still doesn't have a goal yet, but his second period assist was his fifth, tying him with Vincent Trocheck for the team lead.
- Erik Gudbranson played a man-sized game. In addition to his goal, Guds dished out a game-high seven hits and blocked three shots.
- The Ducks out-shot the Panthers by a wide margin, 39-25. Kudos to Roberto Luongo for delivering another quality start, where he deserved better. Frederik Andersen wasn't as busy, but he came up big when he had to, keeping the Cats from taking a two-goal lead.
- The victory gave Anaheim its first winning streak of the season. The two points moved the Ducks past the Calgary Flames and out of the Pacific Division basement.
- Kevin Bieksa, Hampus Lindholm and Jakob Silfverberg paced the shot-happy Ducks with five apiece.
- Need an advanced stats breakdown? war-on-ice has got you covered.
- Visit our fine-feathered friends over at Anaheim Calling, where things are a little duckier this morning.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)