Martin Necas scored the decisive goal in the bottom of the fifth round of the shootout, slipping the puck between Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 shootout over the Florida Panthers.
Martin Necas calls game. Hurricanes beat the Panthers 4-3 in shootout. pic.twitter.com/pRRqCb0CEt— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Necas’ goal came after James Reimer denied Alex Wennberg with his blocker with in the top of the round.
As they did Thursday’s win over the Dallas Stars, the Cats scored all three of their goals in the third period.
The Panthers entered the final frame trailing 1-0 thanks to Vincent Trocheck’s deft deflection of Dougie Hamilton’s shot from center point with 2:22 left in the first period. Trocheck was tripped, by Kevin Connauton, and got the call to put Carolina on the power play.
Florida fell further behind when Jake Bean’s long wrister found the top the net, giving the 22-year-old his first NHL goal 1:30 into the stanza. Bobrovsky gambled low, trying to take away a potential Nino Niederreiter deflection I guess, ceding the top part of the net and lost.
Jonathan Huberdeau finally got the Cats on the board at 8:13 when he got the puck just over the goal line after Reimer stopped most of his backhand shot. Assists on the power-play goal when to Aleksander Barkov and Patric Hornqvist, who did some solid work down low to eventually get the puck to Huberdeau in front. Hornqvist and Barkov took whacks at the puck after Reimer appeared to make the save, but it had already crossed the goal line, giving Huberdeau his eighth goal and team-best 24th point.
The Cats would draw even two minutes later after Mason Marchment set up Frank Vatrano with a pretty pass in the slot after Connauton sent the two speedy forwards away on a fast break. Vatrano, who scored for the second straight game, easily beat his man to turn a 2-on-2 into a 2-on-1.
The Hurricanes retook the lead at 14:05 when Warren Foegele redirected Brett Pesce’s shot by a helpless Bobrovsky. Florida got a little unlucky on this play as Carter Verhaeghe blocked Pesce’s first shot attempt, but the puck went right back to the defenseman, who was able to reset and shoot it in the vicinity of Foegele.
Luck would be on the Cats side with time running out and Bobrovsky on the bench for an extra attacker. MacKenzie Weegar took a pass from Anton Stralman and then badly fanned as he attempted to send it to Marchment. He was able to keep possession and took the puck deeper before throwing a backhand pass in front that Hornqvist deflected out of the air and in to give the Panthers a point.
The shootout saw Barkov and Hornqvist convert for the Panthers and Hamilton and Trocheck score for the Hurricanes before Necas bagged the game-winner.
Some mixed feelings on this result. While it was exciting to see the Cats stage another late rally, they need to get back to scoring in the other two periods, too. The Panthers got off to real good start, but couldn’t finish, which allowed Carolina to turn the tide and eventually take the lead before for the first intermission when they cashed in on the late power play. The Panthers haven’t scored in the first period in four straight games, and it’s been three games since they scored in the middle frame. Tough to win consistently when you constantly having to come from behind. They’ll get another crack at the Canes on Monday.
Shutters & Sandbags
- Patric Hornqvist goal was his team-leading ninth of the season. His earlier assist extended his point streak to two games.
- Mason Marchment notched an assist for the second consecutive game and Kevin Connauton produced his first point as a Panther on Frank Vatrano’s sixth goal.
- Vincent Trocheck notched his tenth of the season in regulation and scored in the shootout in first game back at the BB&T Center. Trocheck had a team-high five shots (tied with Dougie Hamilton), blocked a shot and won 57% of the faceoffs he took.
- Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves in the game, marking his second consecutive appearance making at least 30 saves. Former Cat James Reimer stopped 28 shots for the Hurricanes.
- In addition to late-game primary assist, MacKenzie Weegar registered a team-leading four hits. Florida out-hit Carolina 24-19.
- For more on another exciting, extra-time game between the Panthers and Hurricanes, visit Canes Country.