Panthers manage to keep it close in 4-3 loss to stronger Hurricanes

Spencer Knight’s 43-save effort made it a game

An AHL-laden Florida Panthers lineup found a way to hang in there against a far superior Carolina Hurricanes roster before falling 4-3 when Brent Burns notched his second goal of the game nine minutes into the third period.

After getting outscored 2-0 and outshot 12-2 in a first period that saw Burns beat a screened Spencer Knight at 6:12 and Andrei Svechnikov tack on another 5:44 later, the Cats bounced back by scoring on their first three shots of the second period.

Rudolfs Balcers got the first goal by finishing off a 2-on-1 with Chris Tierney, with the second assist going to Ethan Keppen 48 seconds into the frame.

After getting his first atempt pass blocked Anton Levtchi fed the puck from below the goal line to Ryan Lomberg and he backhanded the puck past Frederik Andersen for his second goal of the preseason. Tierney was credited with the secondary assist on the tying goal, which came at the 4:52 mark.

Florida forged ahead at 9:16 when Grigori Denisenko found Eetu Luostarinen open down low and he quickly centered to Zac Dalpe, who one-timed the puck by Andersen for a power-play goal.

Dalpe would vacate the slot, leaving Martin Necas open for a one-timer that Knight had no chance on that knotted the score at 14:44. Svechnikov collected his second point with the set-up and Ethan Bear picked up the secondary assist.

The Panthers, who have now lost three straight, couldn’t generate much in the third period and failed to send the game to overtime.

Knight was outstanding in this one, finishing with 43 saves to keep his outmanned and outgunned team close in a game that should’ve been a rout. Carolina outshot the Panthers by a huge 47-10 margin.

Luostarinen, Balcers and Denisenko each had two shots on goal. Lomberg, Dalpe and Keppen were the other forwards that managed one. Dennis Cesana was the only defenseman to register a shot.

After the game Florida assigned Denisenko, Levtchi, John Ludvig, Patrick Giles, Mack Guzda, Santtu Kinnunen and Connor Bunnanman, who cleared waivers, to the Charlotte Checkers.

The Checkers will open its training tomorrow.

Florida’s next preseason game is on Thursday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.