The Carolina Hurricanes avoided complete disaster Saturday night in Sunrise, Florida, beating the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period.
The Canes, who had lost three straight coming into Saturday’s affair, got a much-needed two points thanks to some key shootout saves and the eventual deciding shootout goal from Martin Necas, but also let another Central Division contender steal a point after an inability to close things out in the third frame.
Martin Necas calls game. Hurricanes beat the Panthers 4-3 in shootout. pic.twitter.com/pRRqCb0CEt— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Former Florida Panther Vincent Trocheck opened the scoring for Carolina in the first period, and defenseman Jake Bean scored the first goal of his NHL career early in the third to make it 2-0. However, Florida stormed back into things as Patric Hornqvist and Frank Vatrano scored in quick succession to tie it up midway through the final frame of regulation.
Warren Foegele got the Canes back on top late, but a second goal from Hornqvist forced overtime and secured the point for the Panthers.
The shootout was a lengthy one, going five shooters deep, with Necas tallying the winner through Sergei Bobrvosky’s five hole after James Reimer came up with three big saves. Dougie Hamilton and Trocheck also scored in the shootout, both going five hole as well.
It was the Hurricanes 10th straight shootout win, an NHL-leading streak that dates back to December of 2018.
After putting just three shots on goal through the first 15 minutes of the game, Carolina got the scoring started on the power play with just 2:22 left in the opening period. Dougie Hamilton laced a low shot into traffic, and Trocheck got his stick on it for a great deflection from the slot.
Playing his first game as a visitor in BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, Trocheck scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Welcome back to Florida, Vincent Trocheck!— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Trocheck deflects Dougie Hamilton's point shot for his team-high 10th goal of the season to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead over the Panthers. pic.twitter.com/vkDqLUb3YE
The Hurricanes killed off a pair of penalties in the back half of the second period, as Brady Skjei sat for tripping and Jake Bean went to the box for holding. On the Skjei penalty Carolina controlled the chances, with both Brock McGinn, Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas being denied decent shorthanded looks.
The second penalty, which started just a minute after the first ended, wasn’t as fruitful for the Canes, but it also didn’t produce much in the way of danger for the team actually with the man advantage, either.
The Canes made it 2-0 early in the third period, scoring once again on the power play. This time it was Bean for his first career goal, who roofed one from the point over the glove of Bobrovsky.
JAKE BEAN FIRST NHL GOAL ALERT— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Hurricanes take a 2-0 lead in Florida! pic.twitter.com/1OJ10VMtpV
Bean, who has been playing really well for the Canes since joining the team, took a feed from Pesce and ripped a perfect snipe for his first tally. He also got some good help from Nino Niederreiter, who provided the screen in front of the net.
Pure. Snipe. pic.twitter.com/l2ZaWakgkS— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Florida broke through a few minutes later, as Carolina’s penalty issues finally bit it. On their fourth power play of the game the Panthers got their first goal, as Hornqvist squeezed one through Reimer’s legs. The goal, Hornqvist’s ninth of the season, was certainly one Reimer will want back.
Exactly two minutes after Hornqvist cut Carolina’s lead to one goal Vatrano tied it up at 2-2, as Florida broke out quickly from a defensive zone faceoff win. Vatrano finished past Reimer after a great feed from Mason Marchment.
The Canes regained their lead thanks to Pesce and Foegele, as Pesce laced a shot that Foegele redirected past Bobrovsky for the go-ahead goal with just under six minutes to play. It was Foegele’s first goal in nine games, as Pesce picked up his second assist of the third period.
FoeGOAL SZN— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 28, 2021
Hurricanes take a 3-2 lead in the third period! pic.twitter.com/v2EFIdMRsg
Florida wouldn’t be put away though, as Hornqvist scored his second to tie it up at 3-3 with under two minutes to play, mere seconds after Bobrovsky left the net. MacKenzie Weegar possessed the puck and drew the Canes’ eyes, feeding to Hornqvist who used a great tip to beat Reimer.
Carolina controlled a lot of the overtime period but couldn’t find a goal, as things went to the decisive shootout.
The Canes and Panthers will meet again Monday night in BB&T Center.