Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Florida Panthers

Panthers News

game recap

Hurricanes rally past Panthers

Michael Leighton makes 31 saves for Carolina; Florida fires coach Gerard Gallant after game

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals in a span of 3:28 in the second period and defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 at PNC Arena on Sunday.

Florida coach Gerard Gallant confirmed to that he was fired after the game. 

"I've been let go," Gallant said before departing the arena in a taxi.

Goaltender Michael Leighton, making his first NHL start since Jan. 27, 2013, made 31 saves for the Hurricanes (9-8-4). His previous NHL win came on Dec. 30, 2010, with the Philadelphia Flyers.


WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Panthers highlights


Aleksander Barkov had two assists for the Panthers (11-10-1).

"It means a lot," Leighton said. "I don't want to tell you my sob story and how I made it back here. It's been a long road, and it's good to be back in the NHL. It's good to get a win."

Video: FLA@CAR: Leighton denies multiple scoring efforts

Jonathan Marchessault's 10th goal of the season gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 5:40 of the first period. With the Panthers on the power play, Jaromir Jagr got a stick on Barkov's shot, but Marchessault cleaned up a rebound on the backhand.

Ekblad made it 2-0 on an unusual play. Leighton initially caught Barkov's shot, but when the Hurricanes goaltender bobbled the puck, Jagr used his stick to tap Leighton's glove and knock the puck over Leighton's shoulder and into the net at 9:51.

"You could tell both teams played [Saturday] night," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "They skated a little better than us early, and once we got skating we looked a little better."

The Hurricanes started their comeback when Victor Stalberg made it 2-1 at 5:21 of the second period. Matt Tennyson sent a backhand feed to Stalberg at the top of the crease, where he beat James Reimer between the legs.

Jeff Skinner tied the game 2-2 with a breakaway goal at 7:12. He took a pass from Victor Rask and held off Aaron Ekblad before finishing a backhand under the crossbar.

Derek Ryan made it 3-2 with his first of the season on the power play at 8:49. Ryan won an offensive zone draw to Skinner, whose shot was poke-checked by Reimer. Ryan quickly gathered the puck and scored on the short side.

"For five minutes we let them come back in the game and they scored three goals," Gallant said. "That was disappointing because we played 55 good minutes tonight, but it wasn't enough."


Goal of the game

Ryan put the game-winner in off Reimer's arm for his first of the season and his third NHL goal. "It felt really nice," Ryan said. "I've been getting some power-play opportunities. I have to capitalize on it. It was nice obviously to get the lead at that point in the game, and really nice to get my first of the year."

Video: FLA@CAR: Ryan jumps on a loose puck, buries PPG


Save of the game

Leighton had several big saves in the second and third period. His best came against Barkov, who cut through the slot and tried to score to the back-side post at 6:11 of the third period, but Leighton made an outstanding glove save.

Video: FLA@CAR: Leighton flashes the leather on Barkov


Highlight of the game

Skinner's breakaway showed why his skill level is among the best in the NHL. He out-raced and held off Ekblad, who had his stick wrapped around him, then used his strength to turn sideways enough to elevate the puck for his ninth goal.

Video: FLA@CAR: Skinner scores a beautiful breakaway goal


Unsung moment of the game

When Joakim Nordstrom took a penalty near the end of Noah Hanifin's penalty in the second period, the Hurricanes had to play shorthanded for 3:58. After allowing Florida a few quality chances, Carolina clamped down during the second Panthers power play to preserve the lead.


They said it

"We weren't prepared for the game. We didn't come to the rink and get ourselves ready to play. We hold ourselves to a high standard and everyone in here knows that. Some players stepped up and said a few things. We knew we had to contribute a bit more and get a little better." -- Hurricanes forward Derek Ryan


"I'm coming off the bench, last guy into the room (after the first period) and they're already talking about what we've got to do. It was outstanding. They had a great little meeting prior to us ever getting in there. That's the most important one … the players meeting, not the coaches one. I give them all the credit." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters


Need to know

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal left the game in the first period and did not return. Peters did not have an update after the game. … Carolina had killed 25 straight penalties (12 games) prior to Marchessault's power-play goal.


What's next

Panthers: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNP, FS-CR, MSG, NHL.TV)


Video: Leighton and Hurricanes rally back to win 3-2 at home

View More