Aaron Ekblad reeled in a perfect saucer bomb from Jonathan Huberdeau and finished off the breakaway by stuffing a backhander between Fredrik Andersen’s arm and body 16 seconds into extra time to give the Florida Panthers a stunning 3-2 comeback victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Aleksander Barkov drew the secondary assist on Ekblad’s second overtime winner of the season.
The goal came 65 seconds after Sam Reinhart quieted the crowd at PNC Arena by firing in the rebound of MacKenzie Weegar’s shot, which hit Patric Hornqvist in the bum. The puck came right to Reinhart and he made no mistake with Andersen out of position.
SAM REINHART TIES IT FOR THE COMEBACK CATS pic.twitter.com/hXtTEb5K4j— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 17, 2022
Carolina led twice during the game. Teuvo Teravainen opened the scoring with 46 seconds left in the first, when he took a pass from Sebastian Aho and caught Sergei Bobrovsky unprepared with a quick turnaround shot that nicked off the top of the goalie’s stick blade and went through the wickets, The second assist on Teravainen’s 12th went to Jaccob Slavin.
The Bunch of Jerks almost added another early in the second. After Bobrovsky made a nice save on a long shot from Slavin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi chipped the rebound towards the yawning net, but Lucas Carlsson came to the rescue and knocked the puck out of the air with the shaft of his stick. Steven Lorentz took a swing at the still airborne puck and smacked it into the cross bar. Bullets dodged!
Barkov would even the score 13:09 into the middle frame with his 22nd of the season. After Huberdeau made a slick pass to spring him, the Panthers captain made a flithy lbehind the back pass to himself to manuver around Brady Skjei and then shoveled the puck off Andersen’s stick and into the net. Ekblad earned the second assist by fighting through Jesper Fast and with one hand on his stick, getting the puck out of his own zone. Highlight reel material from Barkov!
absolutely disgusting goal from Barkov pic.twitter.com/KW49G30zrG— ryan (@OTCeIIy) February 17, 2022
Carolina regained the lead 3:13 into the third when Nino Niederreitter and Eric Staal outworked Barkov and Gustav Forsling below the goal line. Staal pass the puck off the boards back to Tony DeAngelo and his dipping shot from the point clunked off Forsling’s skate and soared over Bobrovsky.
Hats off to the Panthers, who shook off the goal (and two weeks of rust) and went right back to work. They out-shot the Hurricanes 9-1 over the remainder of the period to get the game tied up late with Bobrovsky off for an extra attacker to set the stage for Ekblad’s electrifying overtime winner, which came on the first shot of the extra stanza and gave the Cats the season series sweep.
Wind and Water
- With two assists Jonathan Huberdeau hit 66 points to forge a three-way tie with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the NHL scoring lead. Huberdeau, who upped his point streak to five games, leads the league with 49 helpers.
- Speaking of five-game scoring streaks, Aleksander Barkov has put up four goals and eight points during his. Barkov logged 21:22 TOI and finished the tilt with four shots and three hits.
- Patric Hornqvist had an assist, three shots on goal and two hits in 14:47 TOI in his return after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
- Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 28 of 31 Florida shots. Teuvo Teravainen and Jaccob Slavin led the Jerks with three shots apiece.
- Sergei Bobrovsky only had to make 16 saves to get his 24th win, but he did come up big on a Carolina 5-on-3 in the first, stopping Andrei (Mr.) Svechnikov and former Panther Vincent Trocheck. Good to see Trocheck held off the score sheet.
- The Hurricanes lost all three games against the Cats this season, but did manage to pick up two points.
- For more on Florida’s first February win, which put them back in first place in the Atlantic, visit Canes Country.