The Florida Panthers narrowly escaped embarrassment as the Staal Brothers and Carter Verhaeghe all came through in an overtime win.
Eric and Marc Staal each picked up goals and Carter Verhaeghe picked up his 30th goal of the year to defeat the tanking Anaheim Ducks 4-3.
After the Panthers found themselves down 2-0, Eric Staal got things started two minutes into the second period with a deflection of a Radko Gudas shot and nearly tied things up on his own.
With a bounce coming his way, he blasted a slap shot into the open net eight minutes later to tie the game but the goal did not stay on the board.
It was determined upon video review that Josh Mahura impaired John Gibson’s ability to play his position when his momentum brought him towards the out-of-position netminder and it was taken off the board for goaltender interference.
Instead, it was his brother, Marc Staal, who tied the game with 2:37 to go in the second period with his second goal of the season.
“We know where we are at, we know we needed these points and that was a great response by everyone to stay with it and ultimately get two big points,’’ Eric Staal said.
“We knew this was important and was a big night. I liked the way my line played whole way. I thought we were engaged and we ended up being rewarded.”
Verhaeghe hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career as he won it in overtime.
Gibson ended up with 51 saves in the loss as Florida took aim 94 times.
“All game, it felt like we were in control and had a ton of chances. We just could not finish them. They got a couple one-off chances. It was nice to win.”
— Florida lost Givani Smith when he took a shot off the face during the second period.
Smith hit the ice and had to be helped off the ice as play was immediately stopped as Gibson put his arm in the air to signal the officials and medical personnel.
Paul Maurice said after the game that X-rays on Smith were negative and he did not enter the concussion protocol.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Ducks 1, Panthers 0 (11:46, 1st): Mason McTavish took advantage of a big rebound from a Dmitry Kulikov shot — not to mention Sergei Bobrovsky losing sight of the puck — as he cleans up in front into an empty net.
- Ducks 2, Panthers 0 (15:20, 1st): Moments after the Panthers saluted Frank Vatrano, he scored off an odd-angled shot on a power play to give the Ducks a two-goal advantage.
- Ducks 2, Panthers 1 (2:12, 2nd): Eric Staal deflected a Radko Gudas shot past John Gibson for Florida’s first goal of the game.
- Panthers 2, Ducks 2 (17:23, 2nd): Marc Staal tapped in a feed from Matthew Tkachuk to tie the game.
- Ducks 3, Panthers 2 (12:51, 3rd): Dmitry Kulikov fired a shot from the slot past Bobrovsky to put the Ducks ahead.
- Panthers 3, Ducks 3 (14:09, 3rd): Ryan Lomberg deflected a Gus Forsling slap shot past Gibson to tie the game back up.
- Panthers 4, Ducks 3(1:42, OT) Carter Verhaeghe beat Gibson on the breakaway.
COLBY’S THREE STARS OF THE DAY
1. Eric Staal, Florida (Goal)
2. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida (OT-Goal)
3. Marc Staal, Florida (Goal)
PANTHERS ON DECK
BUFFALO SABRES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Friday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Florida leads 2-0): Panthers 4, Sabres 3 (Oct. 15); Panthers 4, Sabres 1 (Jan. 16)
- Last season: Florida won 3-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 53-44-8, 4 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Feb. 28 at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.