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Panthers defeat Devils in overtime

Aleksander Barkov's goal secures win in season opener

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

Barkov's overtime winner

NJD@FLA: Barkov buries the game winner in OT

Michael Matheson makes a power move to the net and sets up Aleksander Barkov, who buries a one-timer for the game-winning goal in overtime

  • 01:26 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goalie Roberto Luongo's hard work over the summer paid off for the Florida Panthers in a 2-1 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Aleksander Barkov scored with 2:12 left in overtime and Luongo tied Jacques Plante for sixth place on the NHL's all-time list with his 437th career victory in the season opener for each team.

Luongo, who spent the summer rehabbing after undergoing hip surgery in early May, made 23 saves, including two key stops in the final minute of regulation.

"[Luongo] is solid," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "When he's called upon for us, he's solid. I thought overall he played a real good solid game for us. I'm sure he's pretty happy after the summer he put through with the hard work. It was good for him."

Barkov scored on a one-timer after rookie defenseman Michael Matheson stole the puck from Devils defenseman Damon Severson behind the net.

"That's my fault there," Severson said. "I got the puck in the corner, won the battle, and I tried to go behind the net. I heard reverse. I knew we had tired guys out there and I didn't want to just throw it away. I ended up tripping up on the skate and there was a back-door play there. Tough play to end the game."

Jonathan Marchessault, replacing injured left wing Jonathan Huberdeau on Florida's top line, scored in the first period for the Panthers, who are 5-0-1 in their past six season openers. Barkov also had an assist.

Video: NJD@FLA: Marchessault puts home goal on deflection

PA Parenteau, claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders on Tuesday, scored for New Jersey. Cory Schneider made 32 saves.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 9:38 of the first period when Marchessault got a fortuitous bounce. Schneider stopped his shot from the right circle, but the rebound went right into the body of defenseman Ben Lovejoy in the crease and ricocheted into the net.

The Devils tied it 1-1 with 29 seconds left in the first period when rookie defenseman Yohann Auvitu's shot from the point deflected off Parenteau's leg.

Left wing Taylor Hall, who was acquired by the Devils in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on June 29, was scoreless with two shots on goal in 20:38 of ice time in his regular-season debut for New Jersey.

 

Goal of the game

Matheson said he never would have stayed behind the New Jersey net to battle Severson if not for the 3-on-3 situation. After taking the puck away, Matheson attempted to take the puck to the net, but instead it slid across the goal crease right to Barkov for the one-timer to win the game in overtime.

 

Saves of the game

Luongo faced seven shots in the third period, but the two toughest came in the final minute. First, he got his stick on a redirect by Hall. Then with 29.9 seconds left in regulation, defenseman Andy Greene one-timed a slap shot from the top of the left circle that was headed for the far corner of the net before Luongo gloved it.

 

Video: NJD@FLA: Luongo steers away Greene's slap shot 

Unsung moment of the game

The Devils didn't produce many great scoring chances in the first two periods, but they had a nice opportunity after Luongo lost his balance and fell forward to the ice in the second period of a 1-1 game. Michael Cammalleri was in front of the net ready to pounce on a rebound from the point but defenseman Aaron Ekblad was able to knock the puck away.

 

Highlight of the game

Less than a minute before Barkov scored the game-winning goal, Jaromir Jagr was left all alone as he retrieved a puck behind the New Jersey net. He took it back to the front and hesitated before making a move, giving the defense time to get back and knock the puck away.

 

They said it

"It was easy to put it in. It wasn't an easy game, but it was an easy goal." -- Panthers center Aleksander Barkov on his game-winning goal

 

"I knew that first goal (by New Jersey) was a little bit my fault. I had that in the back of my mind and was hoping to be able to make up for it. I was glad I was able to help offensively and kind of make up for that mistake." -- Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson

 

"[I] just wanted to come out and have a good start and show the guys I'm ready for the year." -- Devils goalie Cory Schneider

Need to know

All Panthers players warmed up wearing jersey number 16 with the name FERNANDEZ in honor of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident Sept. 25. … Florida was 1-6 in games decided in overtime last season and failed to win more than one game decided in overtime in any of the past five seasons. … Panthers forward Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch as he begins what could be his final NHL season.

 

What's next

Devils: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SUN, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV).

Panthers: Home against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-D, NHL.TV).

 

Video: NJD@FLA: Barkov buries the game winner in OT

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