Keith Yandle hoped to celebrate a victory as he played in career Game No. 1000 on Sunday but the Carolina Hurricanes were just too much for the Panthers.
The first three meetings between these former Southeast Division rivals were determined in overtime or a shootout.
Yet two quick goals in the third period all but insured 60 minutes would be plenty as the host Hurricanes held on to beat Florida 4-2.
Carolina is now 3-0-1 against the Panthers with four more meetings (at least) to come this season.
The Panthers, playing their third game in four days after beating Nashville 6-2 on Saturday, never led on Sunday as Carolina had a 2-0 lead in the second period and led by three at one point in the third.
”It was one of those nights where, over the course of a season you know the guys weren’t — whether it was fatigue or scheduling — caught up to you,” Joel Quenneville said.
”I’m not making any excuses. But you know, tonight we weren’t great.”
Down 2-1 and on a power play to open the third, the Panthers watched Sebastian Aho score off a 2-on-1 with Jordan Martinook a mere 38 seconds into the period.
Three minutes later, Warren Foegele drove in on Chris Driedger (22 saves) and scored while being pulled down by Alex Wennberg.
The Panthers, who have now lost their past three to the Hurricanes after winning the opener in Raleigh, continue their five-game road trip Tuesday in Columbus.
Florida trailed 2-0 in the second thanks to a power play goal from Vincent Trocheck (his fourth in as many games against his former mates) and Nino Nieterreiter.
But, Florida was able to put some pressure on old pal James Reimer (21 saves) in the second with MacKenzie Weegar putting the Panthers on the board with a one-timer off a face-off win from Noel Acciari.
The Panthers got a nice goal from Mason Marchment off a Jonathan Huberdeau feed midway through the third but it wasn’t enough.
Florida ended the night going 0-for-5 on the power play as the Carolina penalty kill continues to frustrate the Panthers.
With the Hurricanes getting a shorthanded goal, well, that only makes things worse.
Florida woke up tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Central Division, but with the Lightning winning in Chicago and the Hurricanes winning Sunday, the Panthers dropped to third.
Yandle gets milestone
Midway through the first period, the Hurricanes honored Yandle for his 1,000th game and showed his limited family members celebrating in a suite at PNC Arena.
“For them to show their support is great,’’ Yandle told Fox Florida during the first intermission.
“I would not be here without them. I would have loved to have all my family and friends here. Hopefully we can get a win here.”
The Panthers will officially honor Yandle’s accomplishment with a pregame ceremony before Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks with all fans in attendance getting a commemorative poster.
Yandle became the 12th player to reach 1,000 games while playing for the Panthers, joining: Greg Adams, Brian Campbell, Radek Dvorak, Mike Foligno, Chris Gratton, Roberto Luongo, Bryan McCabe, Scott Mellanby, Kirk Muller, Lyle Odelein and Cory Stillman.
First period highlights
There was not a whole lot going on early as the two teams got off to a bit of a choppy start.
By the midway mark, both teams only had one shot on goal and Florida ended up leading 5-4 at the end of it.
Carolina only had a smattering of scoring chances with Trocheck cashing in on the second power play opportunity by firing in a shot while camped along the net.
The Panthers failed to get off a shot on their one full power play chance but killed off Carolina’s third shot at it when Trocheck was called for hooking Alex Wennberg setting on 39 seconds of 4-on-4 play.
How slow were things? Florida had 13 shot attempts while Carolina had 10. That 23 combined shot attempts are the norm for both teams in a single period.
Second period highlights
Florida had some carry-over power play time to start but it was all Carolina early on with Niederreiter making it a 2-0 game at 4:52.
The Panthers picked up their play, putting some pressure on Reimer with big scoring chances coming from Frank Vatrano, Ryan Lomberg and Mason Marchment being denied.
Weegar did get the Panthers on the board at 10:41, firing off a shot from Acciari’s face-off win.
The Panthers found themselves on the penalty kill following an odd penalty.
After Yandle iced the puck, officials saw Radko Gudas break his stick (which appeared to be cracked before he busted it) and they called delay of game after Gudas skated back to the bench to retrieve a new one.
Florida did kill it off although Carolina had another couple good scoring chances.
Huberdeau was stopped on a nice attempt at the end of the period as the Panthers’ power play took the ice for the fourth time.
Third period highlights
Carolina broke things wide open at the very start of the period when Aho got the shorthanded goal and then Foegele scored not long after.
“The big turn was we have it all alone with Huby at the end of the second and they score on the shorty to start the third,” Quenneville said.
”That’s a two-goal swing there. It could have been a different game.”
The Panthers kept up the pressure, however, and cut their deficit in half when Marchment flashed to the net and scored on a feed from Huberdeau.
It was the second goal in three games for Marchment who got his first Thursday in Nashville.
With Carter Verhaeghe in the box, Weegar had a nice shorthanded chance of his own but the puck got knocked away.
Gustav Forsling had a couple of big scoring chances including one off a pass from Verhaeghe in front of Reimer.
With 2:24 left, the Panthers pulled Driedger when Jordan Staal took a penalty and put some serious pressure on but couldn’t get anything through.
A brawl broke out between the two teams in the final seconds with Yandle taking a hooking penalty and Staal getting hit with roughing even though almost everyone on the ice was involved.
”You see the teams a lot so there’s some rivalry going,” Huberdeau said. “It’s fun and it gets chippy some times. That’s hockey. We were a little frustrated at the end.”
The team will have Monday off.
Up Next: Panthers at Blue Jackets
When: Tuesday, 7
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus