The Panthers fall against Hurricanes again and now face a tough five-game road trip

George Richards
·3 min read

The first two games in this eight-game season series between the Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes both went to overtime so, it only figures the third one would as well.

The Panthers probably just wish Martin Necas would take the extra time off.

On Saturday, Necas beat the Panthers with his fifth-round shootout goal. Monday, he scored with 3:01 left in overtime to lift the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win at BB&T Center.

The Panthers were trying to go 7-0 this season following a loss but instead will have to take the point they got out of this one and head on the road for a five-game trip.

Florida visits Nashville for two games Thursday and Saturday and then go to Carolina on Sunday before playing two in Columbus next week.

The tough part, goalie Chris Driedger said, was holding a late lead and letting Carolina tie the score and get the extra point in overtime.

“When we scored that late one and we go up, it’s tough,” Driedger said. “I was unhappy giving up that second goal. ... If I make the save, I probably get us the win.”

These teams share a few former players and two of them had a big say in what happened Monday.

With the score tied at 1 in the third, Eetu Luostarinen — who came to the Panthers in the Vincent Trocheck trade last February — scored off his own rebound with 3:09 left to give the Panthers their first lead of the night.

Not to be outdone, Trocheck forced overtime by scoring with 1:33 remaining.

In overtime, Sebastian Aho fed Necas on a nice cross pass as they converged on goalie Chris Driedger for the game-winning goal.

Florida trailed 1-0 after Brett Pesce scored a power play goal in the first period. That held up all the way into the third.

Frank Vatrano tied the score at 1 for the Panthers with 15:30 left following a hard-working shift from the top line.

After Carter Verhaeghe got it to Sasha Barkov, he hammered at it a few times with Vatrano able to find the loose puck off goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s pads.

But, with Trocheck’s game-tying goal, the Panthers ended up losing after holding a late third-period lead for just the second time this season.

Florida outshot Carolina 23-5 in the third period.

“We have been playing great in the third period lately,’’ said Barkov, who played in his 500th NHL game Monday.

“We came out wanting to score goals, put pucks at the net and that is what we have been doing. But every game is different.”


Forward Brett Connolly, who signed a four-year deal as a free agent in 2019, was placed on waivers by the Panthers on Sunday.

Likely due to the remaining time and money remaining on his deal, Connolly was not claimed Monday and remains with the Panthers.

By passing through waivers, Florida has one more player who can move to the taxi squad which gives them a little more roster flexibility.

With Connolly ($3.5 million per season) going to the taxi squad, Owen Tippett and Riley Stillman were moved up to the main roster. Tippett was back in the lineup Monday.

Those were not the only roster moves made Monday.

Anthony Duclair was hurt in Saturday’s shootout loss to the Hurricanes and was placed on injured reserve.

Quenneville said he will likely miss a week and would be eligible to be activated for next Tuesday’s game in Columbus.

Noel Acciari, on the IR since Feb. 14, was activated and returned to his spot on the fourth line Monday. Florida also added defenseman Noah Juulsen to the IR.