Panthers move into 1st place in Central Division with OT win over Hurricanes
Huberdeau outraced Carolina players for a breakaway on the winning goal. He opened the scoring for Florida and added an assist before his seventh goal of the season sealed the win. Alex Wenneberg and Juho Lammikko also scored for the Panthers.
“Sticking with it when we were down 2-0, when it looked like it completely got away from us,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “(This) is one of those games that we’ll remember.”
“Probably got fortunate to even get a point out of it,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “… That second half of the game we just didn’t get to work. We just let the other team back in.”
Lammikko scored his first career goal with 7:54 remaining in regulation, giving Florida its first lead. Just 1:33 later, the Hurricanes tied the game on Trocheck’s goal against his former team.
The Panthers improved to 5-0-1 in road games, extending their best start in away games in franchise history. Two nights earlier, they handed the Tampa Bay Lightning their first home loss.
Staal’s first-period goal was his fifth score in four games. Twenty-two seconds later, Aho deflected in a pass from Brett Pesce.
The Panthers converted on a power play in the second period when Huberdeau scored with a shot from the left side. Then, Huberdeau’s pass set up Wenneberg’s tying goal early in the third period.
“That pass was the highlight for me,” Quenneville said. “I told him it has been a long time since I’ve seen something that special.”
Huberdeau wasn’t finished. He made the Hurricanes pay for a breakdown on the game’s final sequence.
“It was just a continuation of our second and third (periods),” Staal said, referring to sloppy play.
VIEW FROM THE TOP
The Panthers hold first place in the Central Division a quarter of the way through the schedule.
“Obviously, it’s a lot more fun when you win,” Huberdeau said. “We’re playing as a team and everyone is having fun.”
Widespread contributions are what makes it encouraging for Quenneville.
“I think internally there’s expectations that are growing,” he said. “A different night, it could be someone else doing it. We’re just not relying on one line or one guy.”
The Panthers had defenseman Gustav Forsling back in the lineup after a nine-game absence with an upper-body injury.
He was a member of the Carolina organization from June 2019 until claimed off waivers on Jan. 9.
The Hurricanes acquired Trocheck from the Panthers in a Feb. 24, 2020, trade. This was his first appearance against his former team.
“He has been good the whole year,” Brind’Amour said. “So it’s not just tonight.”
GOOD TO SEE YA
The game was the first meeting of the season between the Panthers and Hurricanes because last month’s two-game set, which was to include Carolina’s home opener, was postponed due to the Hurricanes’ coronavirus issues.
The game was considered a make-up for one of those contests.
Carolina’s 35 wins against the Panthers at PNC Arena are its most against any opponent in the building. The Hurricanes entered the game 9-2-1 in the series since 2016-17.
Panthers: Florida goes to Detroit for games Friday and Saturday.
Hurricanes: Carolina hosts the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night to open a two-game set on consecutive nights.