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Panthers roar back to nip Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime

Aleksander Barkov wins it 24 seconds into the extra session

Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Aleksander Barkov scored 24 seconds into overtime to lift the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, ending a six-game hex against the Bunch of Jerks.

Barkov took a hand-off from goaltender Chris Driedger and carried deep into the Carolina zone three-on-three and wisely decided to shoot. He used a backpedaling Jaccob Slavin as a screen and was able to fire the puck through the pads of Alex Nedeljkovic for the game-winner.

Dougie Hamilton wasn’t going to throw away his shot last night. He scored the first two Hurricanes goals, sending a seeing-eye wrister that caught Patric Hornqvist by Driedger at 3:25 of the first period, from Andrei Svechnikov and Steven Lorentz, and then gave Carolina the lead a second time with a power-play one-timer early in the middle frame, from Sebastian Aho and that Vincent Trocheck guy...

Sandwiched between the Hamilton markers was MacKenize Weegar’s fourth of the season. Sam Bennett knocked the puck away from Brett Pesce behind the goal line and Jonathan Huberdeau took possession and found Weegar with a perfect pass for a one-timer from the right circle with 25 seconds left to go in the first.

Pesce would grow the Hurricanes lead to two when he took a soft cross from Jake Gardiner and ripped a shot that deflected off both Owen Tippett and Gustav Forsling on its way into the back of net 3:04 into the final frame. Aho was credited with the secondary helper, collecting his second point of the game.

With yet another frustrating loss to Carolina looming, Weegar was able to hold the puck in at the line and get it to Huberdeau. who sent a beautiful pass across the ice to trailer Forsling and he was able to one-time it home before Nedeljkovic could get all the way across and seal the post. The much-needed response came just 1:44 after Pesce’s goal.

A hooking call against Juho Lammikko put the Panthers down a man and looked like a potential momentum-killer, but the shorthanded Cats instead went on the attack and tied the tilt at 6:20 when Anthony Duclair, Alex Wennberg and Weegar broke out 3-on-2 and Wennberg ended up backhanding the puck between Nedeljkovic legs after the goaltender denied shots by Duclair and then Weegar.

Weegar completed his monster night with the secondary assist on Barkov’s decider. The 27-year-old recorded a career-high four points (1G/3A), tied for the most points by a Panthers defenseman in a regular season game in franchise history. He also tied his career-high with four shots on goal, blocked seven shots and registered seven hits. What a night for number 52!

The Cats really needed a win last night and they picked themselves off the mat to get it, scoring twice in a 1:32 span to erase a two-goal deficit and end Carolina’s run off six straight victories when Barkov tallied on the only shot in overtime. Driedger, who had a solid start in his return to action, only had to face 19 shots as the Panthers dominated the final forty minutes of play by outshooting the visitors 27-12 after an 8-7 start in the first. This marked Florida’s third multi-goal third-period comeback victory of the season, trailing only Boston (4) for most by any NHL team this season. The Cats also improved to 8-3 in overtime, the most in the league. Thankfully, that’s it for the Hurricanes in the regular season. If the two teams see each other again this season, it will be in the playoffs, the first such meeting between the two franchises.

Sand Bags & Shutters

  • Aleksander Barkov potted his fifth career overtime game-winning goal and extended his goal streak to three games. He has amassed nine goals and 12 points over his past 12 games. He joins Olli Jokinen (10), Aaron Ekblad (5) and Stephen Weiss (5) as the only players in franchise history to score five goals in overtime.
  • MacKenzie Weegar is the second Panthers defenseman to produce four points this season (Aaron Ekblad, 2G/2A, on March 4 versus Nashville). Weegar is the seventh defenseman in franchise history to have registered four points in a game, joining Jay Bouwmeester, Brian Campbell, Ekblad, Bret Hedican, Bryan McCabe and Keith Yandle.
  • Yandle played in his 915th consecutive regular-season game dating to March 26, 2009, passing Gary Unger (February 24, 1968 to December 21, 1979) for the second-longest streak in NHL history.
  • Chris Driedger registered his 13th win of the season and added an assist on the game-winner. He is the fourth goaltender in club history to record an assist on an overtime goal, joining Ed Belfour, Roberto Luongo and John Vanbiesbrouck.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau extended his point streak to seven games (2G/8A), tying Weegar (March 7-20) for the longest point streak by a Panther this season.
  • The Hurricanes, who played without six injured regulars, took three of four points in Sunrise They are 4-0-2 in their past six games and lead the Central Division by one point.
  • Gustav Forsling led the defensemen with 23:34 TOI; Alex Wennberg scored his second career shorthanded goal (Florida’s third this season); Sam Bennett led the team with six shots on goal; and Anthony Duclair tied for the team lead with a +3 rating. Duclair has produced at least one point in eight of his past nine games.
  • Now that the storm has passed, visit Canes Country for more.

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