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game recap

Panthers score five straight goals, defeat Ducks in OT

Ekblad wins it at 22 seconds for Florida, which rallies from down four to win for second time this season

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

Ekblad's overtime winner

ANA@FLA: Ekblad roofs shot to complete rally in OT

Aaron Ekblad collects the turnover, skates in and fires a shot top shelf to complete the Panthers' comeback for a 5-4 win in overtime

  • 00:52 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Aaron Ekblad scored his second of the game 22 seconds into overtime, and the Florida Panthers rallied from down four goals to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Ekblad scored the game-winner with a high wrist shot from close range.

"I was thinking shot the whole way," Ekblad said. "Most people know that I don't really see much other than the net. (Goaltending coach) Robb Tallas gave me the tip to pull and shoot high glove, and I tried it."


[WATCH: All Ducks vs. Panthers highlights]


It was the second time in 10 days the Panthers rallied from four goals down to win. They defeated the Boston Bruins 5-4 in the shootout Nov. 12 after trailing by four entering the third period.

Florida joined the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers as the only teams in NHL history to win multiple games in a season after trailing by at least four goals.

"I just think down the lineup we've got guys that can score," forward Brett Connolly said. "We've proven it all year. We're one of the highest-scoring teams in the League and we've done it every game. It's not our issue. We've just got to find a way to be better defensively, and we know we can score. If we can fix that and find a way to be better defensively, we're going to be tough to beat, there's no question about it."

Video: ANA@FLA: Ekblad blisters home slapper to trim deficit

Connolly scored two goals, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves for the Panthers (12-5-5), who have won three in a row and five of six.

Ondrej Kase had a goal and an assist, and John Gibson made 23 saves for the Ducks (10-10-3), who are 1-4-3 in the past eight games.

Anaheim led 4-0 after Kase scored at 18:39 of the second period before Florida rallied with two goals in the final 1:07 of the second and two goals in the third.

"They got a few lucky ones, I think," Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "We're up by four. We lost. It's a tough pill to swallow. You gotta take this and feel everything that comes with it and understand it and just do a better job next time."

Connolly started the comeback, scoring twice in 27 seconds. He cut it to 4-1 at 18:53 and made it 4-2 at 19:20 with his 10th goal on a shot that went in off defenseman Cam Fowler. He has four goals in his past three games. 

"The narrative will be the third period when it wasn't," Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. "It was the last couple of minutes in the second where it's a simple play. We talk about moving the puck quickly. We don't. We turn it over. It's, bang, in our net. And that just gives them a little bit of jump. 

"The second goal was a total fluke. It's off of Cam's glove. But the second one doesn't happen if the first doesn't, and we should be walking out of that period 4-0, and even if they do put up a push late like they did, they make it 4-2 or whatever, it's over."

Ekblad brought the Panthers within 4-3 at 11:55 of the third period, and Dominic Toninato tied it 4-4 when he one-timed Ekblad's pass at 15:37.

Max Jones gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at 17:15 of the first period.

Nick Ritchie made 2-0 at 7:17 of the second on a one-timer after three quick passes followed a face-off win. Rickard Rakell scored on the power play for a 3-0 lead at 15:50.

"It was a fun game," Connolly said. "We didn't play very good in the first two periods, there's no question. But we got fortunate there at the end of the second with my lucky goal. That wasn't the prettiest goal I've ever scored, but guys kept working. We've been doing it all year and we just haven't quit on any games. It's obviously a huge positive when your group has that."

Video: Aaron Ekblad wins it for the Panthers in overtime


They said it

"We have to play a certain way for absolutely 60 minutes for us to have a chance to win. And we were doing it until a couple of hiccups there in the second period. We can't do it. There's some elite teams in this league. If they have a couple of guys that don't show up, they can still win. We're not an elite team yet. And that's why we all have to be on it for every second of the game." -- Ducks coach Dallas Eakins

"It's always great to win. It wasn't textbook how we played. You get excited when you play the right way and deserve the win and tonight we'll take it but we've got to be better." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville


Need to know

Florida's 29 points through 22 games are the most its had since 1996-97, when it had 33 (14-3 with five ties). … It was Ekblad's first multigoal NHL game. … Barkov had multiple points for the seventh time in 10 games. He has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in that span. … Rakell has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. ... The Oilers won 10-7 against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 19, 1983, after trailing 6-2 and 5-4 against the Canucks on Dec. 7, 1983, after falling behind 4-0. 


What's next

Ducks: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SUN, PRIME, NHL.TV)

Panthers: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Ekblad, Panthers rally past Ducks for OT win, 5-4

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