Anthony Duclair scored 2:53 into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh. The Panthers have now collected points in six straight games (5-0-1) since returning from the holiday break.
Duclair picked off Brady Skjei’s pass in the neutral and dished off to Jonathan Huberdeau as the two broke into the Carolina zone. The Duke deftly chopped Huberdeau’s saucer pass out of the air and manuvered around Alex Lyon to deposit the game-winner into the back of the net to match Aleksander Barkov with a team-leading 14 goals.
The dynamic duo also teamed up to open the scoring 1:05 into the first when Huberdeau converted Duclair’s crossing pass from the left circle for his 13th of the campaign. Gustav Forsling collected the secondary helper on the play.
An interfence call on Eetu Luostarinen gave the Hurricanes a man-advantage and Teuvo Teravainen quickly knotted the score with a rising wrister from the left dot. Sebastian Aho and Tony DeAngelo got the assists on the power-play goal, which came at the 3:34 mark.
Carter Verhaeghe restored Florida’s lead with 2:20 left in the frame when he collected the puck in the neutral zone after Aleksander Barkov bumped it off the boards. Verhaeghe moved in on Lyon 2-on-1 with Maxim Mamin and chose to shoot. Lyon got a piece of the puck with his glove, but not enough to prevent from going over the goal line.
Verhaeghe helped the Cats make a little franchise history when he speed down the left side and beat Lyon again 35 seconds into the middle stanza with the lone assist going to MacKenzie Weegar. The wicked wrister gave the Panthers goals in a record sixteen consecutive periods. That run would come to an end when the Cats failed to score in the third.
Skjei would pull one back for the Hurricanes at 14:14 when Jordan Staal got the puck back to Brett Pesce and he crossed to his partner, who hammered a slapper by Sergei Bobrovsky, Staal smartly went to the front of the net after the faceoff scrum to screen Bobrovsky.
Carolina tied the game 1:45 into the third when Ian Cole fended off Aleksi Heponiemi and got the puck up the ice to Aho. The crafty Finn sprung rookie Seth Jarvis and he was able to find the back of the net for his sixth. The two assists gave Aho 17 points in his last nine games.
Bobrovky was able to stop the Hurricanes final seven shots in regulation and stuff Mr. Svechnikov’s overtime bid to set the stage for Duclair’s heroics. He finished with 24 saves to bank his 16th win of the season.
The Panthers wobbled a bit, but managed to right the ship and pick up their first win on the road since beating the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale on December 10. Florida is now 5-4-5 away from FLA Live Arena, the first time they have been over NHL .500 on the road since November 8. The win, couple with Boston’s 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay, put the Cats on top of the NHL standings with 51 points. That’s the same amount as the Lightning, but the Panthers have a pair of games in hand on the Bolts. The Cats and Canes will meet one more time in Raleigh at a date yet to be determined.
Sand Bags & Shutters
- With his brace, Carter Verhaeghe became the fifth Panther to hit double-digit goals this season. Verhaeghe registered a game-high five shots, had one block and finished with a +2 rating.
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s quick strike extended his point streak to five games. Huberdeau has piled up 13 points (3G/10A) during the torrid span.
- Linemate Anthony Duclair has produced five goals and eight points in his past six games.
- Alex Lyon stopped 32 shots in his second appearance of the season. He made 27 saves in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on November 13.
- Defenseman Radko Gudas dished out a season-high 10 hits and put two shots on goal in 17:39 TOI.
- Carolina ended Florida’s run of four consecutive games with at least one power-play goal. The Panthers went 0 for 2 with the man advantage.
- Aleksi Heponiemi tagged in in place of Patric Hornqvist, who was placed in COVID-19 protocol. Heponiemi played 10:44 and had one shot on goal.
- For more on Florida’s second win over Carolina, visit Canes Country.