SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers found themselves deep into a goaltending duel in a preseason clash with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Then Mackie Samoskevich found his opportunity.
The 20-year-old found a hole and beat Hurricanes goalie Pyotor Kochetkov with a slick backhand move to help the Panthers secure a 4-2 win.
It ended a streak of 29-straight saves between Kochetkov and Anthony Stolarz.
In a game full of players fighting for an NHL spot, Samoskevich looked like the best player on the ice on Friday night.
And they needed him to be after 2018 first-round pick Grigori Denisenko was a last-minute scratch ahead of the game.
That goal was one of many moments that solidify his case to stick around when Florida cuts its roster to 28 players on Monday.
It was his third goal and fourth point in his third preseason games and he had a couple of stellar defensive plays to boot.
Early in the first period, Samoskevich picked off a stretch pass that would have sparked a Carolina odd-man rush, then sent teammate Steven Lorentz on a rush on the other end.
His speed and agility also created multiple opportunities throughout the game, including a breakaway he created for himself after cutting through Carolina’s entire defense off the opening draw of the third period.
A few big saves from Kochetkov helped keep the Hurricanes in the fight.
Lorentz extended Florida’s lead to 2-0 with a slick wrist shot on a shorthanded breakaway 2:30 into the third period.
Carolina answered back quickly, with Tony DeAngelo firing in a shot from the point 33 seconds later.
A Gerry Mayhew penalty gave the Hurricanes a golden opportunity to tie it — and they did.
Mayhew made it up seconds later, giving Florida the lead back by tapping in a Matt Kiersted rebound with 1:35 remaining.
Lucas Carlsson sealed it with an empty-netter 13 seconds later.
Stolarz helped secure the win with 27 saves in his first preseason game in a Panthers sweater.
The Panthers will be heading to Sydney, Nova Scotia for a clash with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday before closing out their preseason with three-straight match-ups with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
COLBY’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Mackie Samoskevich, Florida (goal)
2. Anthony Stolarz, Florida (28 saves)
3. Steven Lorentz, Florida (goal)
FLORIDA PANTHERS (3-1) ON DECK
PRESEASON VS. OTTAWA SENATORS (3-1)
- When: Sunday, 4 p.m.
- Where: Centre 200; Sydney, Nova Scotia
- TV/Radio: NHL Network/560 WQAM