The Florida Panthers found what has been an elusive road win Saturday night and they did so in a place they have not had much success over the years as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime.
Anthony Duclair got the game winner for Florida, scoring off a feed from Jonathan Huberdeau — a nice return after Duclair fed Huberdeau for the first goal of the night.
The win pulled the Panthers into a tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL lead — with Carolina a point back.
The Panthers won once in four trips to Carolina last season and had not won a game away from Sunrise in almost a month.
Florida came into Saturday with losses in nine of its past 10 road games — and had only won twice on the road since Andrew Brunette took over as coach back in October.
The Panthers, who got two goals from Carter Verhaeghe in Saturday night’s win, come back for a three-game homestand against Vancouver, Dallas and Columbus before hitting the road again.
The last time these two teams met in Sunrise, Florida scored three power play goals in the first and went into the second holding a 4-0 lead.
The Panthers were not as dominant in the opening 20 in this game, but it was still one of their better first road periods of the season.
Florida got off to a quick start, Huberdeau with a nice one-timer off a feed from Duclair just 65 seconds in.
After Eetu Luostarinen got called for an interference, Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen tied things up with his team’s first shot of the night 3:34 into the game.
The Panthers kept coming and put tons of pressure on Alex Lyon, the Hurricanes’ No. 3 goalie pressed into service off the taxi squad, for the remainder of the period.
Florida was able to cash in with 2:20 left in the period as Verhaeghe got his first as he drove down on a 2-on-1 with Maxim Mamin and kept the puck, putting it through Lyon’s legs.
Verhaeghe got his second in similar fashion 35 seconds into the second, rolling down with Anton Lundell and keeping it himself and firing it in for a 3-1 lead.
The Panthers, again, kept up the pressure in a strong second period but the Hurricanes eventually got one back when Brady Skjei’s one-timer off a faceoff win beat Sergei Bobrovsky at 14:14.
Carolina tied the game 1:45 into the third, Seth Jarvis breaking free and splitting Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar, beating Bobrovsky.
Both teams had a couple of power play chances in the final 10 minutes of the third, Florida going 0-2 with one ending prematurely when Frank Vatrano was called for roughing in the offensive zone with seven seconds remaining in the man advantage.
The Panthers, after giving up a power play goal early, killed off Carolina’s next three.
Sasha Barkov closed Thursday night’s game in Dallas with a strong night in the faceoff circle and picked up where he left off.
On Saturday, Barkov won 23 of 32 draws as Florida ended up winning 54 percent off all faceoffs.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida
2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida
3. Anthony Duclair, Florida