Stingy Panthers bounce back with 4-1 win over Hurricanes

Brickley's first NHL goal sparks third period charge as Cats claim first road win of '15-16.

Rookie Connor Brickley notched the game-winning goal midway through the third period and Al Montoya made 22 stops to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 victory over the winless Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

The Panthers shook off Monday's shutout loss in Philadelphia with a quick strike just 2:18 into the opening frame.

After Eddie Lack 's clearing attempt struck the stick of Reilly Smith, Brandon Pirri collected the loose puck and sent it to Brian Campbell at the opposite point. Soup found Nick Bjugstad in the high slot and he whipped a wrist shot by Lack's glove for his second of the season.

Florida continued to pepper the Carolina net throughout the first, finishing with a 14-7 in shots, but couldn't add to its lead.

The Hurricanes evened the affair at the 12:06 mark of the second period. Justin Faulk held the puck in near the blue line and got it to Brad Malone, who dished off to Elias Lindholm for a quick one-timer.

Montoya made a fine stop on a charging Jeff Skinner late in the frame to keep the game tied at one heading to the third.

The Panthers regained the lead at 12:18 of the final frame. After joining the rush, Dmitry Kulikov threw the puck off Lack's pads from the corner and Brickley cleaned up the mess for his first NHL goal. Derek MacKenzie picked up the second assist on the play.

Florida went up by two fifty seconds later when Aleksander Barkov poked in a rebound of a Jaromir Jagr shot. Erik Gudbranson started the counterattack after a blunting a Carolina rush at the other end to collect the second helper.

Jussi Jokinen would complete the scoring with a empty net goal from Smith with 1:47 left on the clock.

A good effort all around by the Panthers in road game number two They got off to a fast start, and if not for something nice goaltending from Lack, might have run away with this one early. When it came down to crunch time the offense was able to click in rapid succession to secure a big two points. Hats off to Montoya and the defense corps, as well. The Panther D limited the Hurricanes to just 23 shots and for the third straight game held the opposition to a single goal.

The Cats will return home for Thursday night's meeting against the Buffalo Sabres with a 2-1 record and momentum restored after the tough loss to the Flyers. Hopefully that's enough to garner another good crowd at the BB&T Center.

Odds & Ends

  • Aleksander Barkov had a dandy of a game, scoring the clinching goal and finishing with a game-high six shots. Barkov looked downright dangerous with the puck on his stick, hopefully he continue to fire away.
  • Barkov's linemates Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau also had nice games after a somewhat lackluster showing in Philly. This was Huberdeau's best outing of the young season as he made some really nice plays that led to scoring chances.
  • Al Montoya was rock solid in his first start of the season, alleviating some of the preseason stress about the backup position. The defense did a great job of limiting chances, but the Big Cubano did have to come up with the goods a few times and was able to deliver the save when needed.
  • In the second of a back-to-back, Quinton Howden tagged in for veteran winger Shawn Thornton and finished with one shot, one hit and +1 rating in his first action of 2015-16.
  • Eddie Lack ended his first start of the year with 27 stops and did a nice job of holding the Hurricanes in the game for the first 52 minutes.
  • After picking up only two assists in 49 games last season, Brandon Pirri already has three in the first three games of the new campaign. Play-maker!
  • Stop by Canes Country for their take on yet another October loss for Carolina.

Highlights (courtesy of