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Perry's late goal helps Ducks edge Panthers

by Abbey Mastracco /

ANAHEIM -- Corey Perry scored his first goal of the season with 5.1 seconds remaining and Chris Stewart got the winner in the shootout in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers at Honda Center on Wednesday.

Stewart scored in the second period and Frederik Andersen made 23 saves for Anaheim (3-7-2), which won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Perry's first goal in 12 games came during a man-advantage. It was the Ducks' fourth power-play goal this season. Perry nearly scored again at 3:07 in overtime, but was denied by Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (37 saves).

The early season struggles of the Ducks' top players have been well-documented. Perry admitted frustration, but said it was only a matter of time before he finally scored.

"It's been a long time coming," Perry said. "You stick with it. You keep pushing and you try not to get too frustrated. Finally found a bounce and I had to make the right shot. It's been a struggle. If you keep getting chances three, four, five games ago, you started getting chances. If you stick with it, it's bound to go in eventually. I got a lucky bounce tonight."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau hopes to see the rest of Anaheim's top scorers follow Perry's lead.

"Well, we needed our best players to be our best players," Boudreau said. "It was good to see Corey score. Hopefully, it's a sign of things to come for him. We've still got a couple more guys who could use some goals.

"I don't know what it said, but it certainly was an important win for us, especially coming from behind, which we hadn't done all year. Hopefully, it gives them a little bit more confidence going forward."

Rocco Grimaldi, who was raised about 20 minutes away in the Seal Beach community of Rossmoor, scored the first goal of the game. Grimaldi beat Andersen with a wrist shot from the edge of the circle at 5:01 in the second period, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Grimaldi grew up attending games at Honda Center and had over 30 friends and family in attendance for his ninth NHL game and second of the season. The center was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Oct. 31.

"It's exciting, especially with people that have loved me through thick and thin and have gotten me to this point," Grimaldi said. "Family, friends, trainers, all of those people, it's tremendous to play in front of them and it's definitely special. But I wish I would have given them something better with a win instead."

The game remained tied until late in the period, when Erik Gudbranson scored at 17:57.

The best chance for the Panthers in overtime came at 2:07 when Reilly Smith had an open look at the net on a 2-on-1, but Andersen sprawled out to make the pad save.

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said that his team had several quality scoring opportunities, most notably in the third period and in overtime.

"I'm not too happy right now," Gallant said. "Andersen, in the overtime, made a great save on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Louie made some key saves for us at key times, but in the second period, they took it to us, I thought. Like I said, disappointing to lose a game like that."

Anaheim center Rickard Rakell sustained an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return. Boudreau did not have an update on his status following the game.

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