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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 3, Hurricanes 2 (SO)

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT SO T
Panthers 0 0 2 0 2-3 3
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 1-3 2
FLA - T. Fleischmann (20), W. Wolski (1), SO - S. Weiss

MIN - PP - J. Faulk (7), J. Jokinen (9)
RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Stephen Weiss scored the winning goal in the third round of the shootout, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.

Wojtek Wolski, obtained in a trade from the New York Rangers earlier Saturday, scored the tying goal for Florida with 1:47 left in the third period after Tomas Fleischmann cut the Panthers' deficit to 2-1 at 13:58.

"We obviously needed those two points. The system is similar to some of the systems I've seen in the past, so it was easy to kind of jump in. I liked how fast and how skilled the guys are, especially the `D.' They jump in the play all the time, which is nice."

- Forward Wojtek Wolski following his first game with the Panthers after being acquired in a trade from the Rangers.
1. Domination Except On The Scoreboard: Picking up just one point in their four-game homestand, the Panthers looked to get off to a quick start in ending their drought. They did that in the opening period. All except it was the Hurricanes that owned a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Florida came out flying and put shot after shot on Carolina netminder Justin Peters. They recorded the game's first 11 shots and had 19 shot overall in the opening period. Peters was strong in turning aside every single shot as his teammates tried to keep up with the Panthers energy. Withstanding the barage, they were given a power play with 2:11 left to play in the period. It didn't take long for them to get on the board as Justin Faulk let it rip from just inside the blueline, beating Jose Theodore top shelf just 12 seconds into the man advantage. The scoresheet read 19-9 shot advantage in favor of the Panthers but the Hurricanes had the 1-0 lead.

2. Sticking With It Ties The Game: It didn't look great entering the third period as Florida trailed by two goals after Jeff Skinner set up Jussi Jokinen with 2:28 left in the second period. The Panthers kept at it though and finally found a way to beat Peters. There Kris Versteeg found Tomas Fleischmann across the ice and through a Hurricanes defenseman and the winger one-timed the pass past Peters for his 20th of the year. Florida found themselves down a goal with 6:02 left to play in the game. Then it was a couple of newcomers causing havoc in tying the game with just 1:47 left on the clock. Shawn Matthias made a nice move in the neutral zone and found Wojtek Wolski. Acquired in a trade earlier in the day from the NY Rangers, Wolski looked like he was going to pass it with a Hurricane draped all over him but instead fired a no-look shot five-hole on Peters, beating the netminder. Jerred Smithson, acquired Friday from Nashville, looked to have caused a great screen as he crashed the net looking for a rebound. Another 1:47 came off the clock and the Panthers, full of energy all night, were rewarded with at least one point on the night.

3. Entertaining Game Ends With Shootout Win: The game, highlighted by great goals and huge saves by both Theodore (see Theodore's two stops on Eric Staal with the Panthers on a power play) and Peters was meant to go post-regulation. Both teams have struggled in overtime/shootouts this season with both teams suffering 12 post-regulation losses (tied for most in the league) entering the game. It didn't look it as they each had great chances in overtime. That was especially the case when Staal and Erik Gudbranson went to the box with a little over two minutes to play. Playing three-on-three hockey, the teams exchanged shots but to no avail. It would be decided in the shootout. Mikael Samuelsson scored for Florida on their first shot while Skinner answered for Carolina on their second shot. After Jiri Tlusty couldn't score, alternate captain Stephen Weiss deked and went to the backhand before slipping the puck five-hole for the Cats fourth shootout victory of the season. With the Jets shootout loss earlier in the day, the victory vaulted the Panthers back into first place in the Division (3rd overall in the East).
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@davidlasseter: Feels so great to see a big win when things were looking bleak! Let's get two more tomorrow! #FlaPanthers

@Ahernz1991: @WojtekWolski86 You were the man tonight! I felt in me that you would tie it welcome to the fam #FlaPanthers

@reneeb2010: This game made me happy! Yay for hockey #FlaPanthers @FlaPanthers

@Dora_Mets: I had to commandeer the TV at the bar to be able to watch the final moments of the shoot out. #FlaPanthers WIN!!!

@daveabrams: I'm screaming in the bar, watching the #FlaPanthers win on my phone. I'm getting looks from people, and I couldn't care less!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Oti Gimenez: Happy to eat my words. This has to be a huge confidence builder going into tomorrows game and then the road trip.

Marco Astro: Huge and much needed win... finally some smiles in their faces...
hope we can continue tomorrow. Believe red all the way from germany...

Joanne Ruimy: What a crazy game it was nice to see all the players with huge smiles!!!!

Sebastian Lovas: BIG comeback! Smithson and Wolski, played GREAT tonight. Really happy that DT brought them in! Nice to see Weiss getting that goal, he needs to end that slump asap.


1. It didn't take long for newcomer Wojtek Wolski to score his first goal as a Panther. Less than a game to be exact. Wolski, who also scored his first of the season, tied the game with 1:47 left to play. Wolski finished with 15:43 of ice time and four shots on net.

4. One of the growing concern for the Panthers has been the penalty kill play. The Hurricanes scored on their first power play of the night as Justin Faulk scored late in the first period. The Panthers have now allowed a power play goal in four of the last five games.

11. Florida came out strong, recording the game's first 11 shots before Hurricanes captain Eric Staal registered the first Canes shot 8:09 in.

20. Trailing by two in the third period, the Panthers were able to get on the board as Tomas Fleischmann scored on a one-timer with a little over six minutes to play. It was the forward's 20th of the season. It's the second time in his career (2008-09) the forward has reached the 20-goal plateau.

44. Carolina Hurricanes netminder Justin Peters was a busy man Saturday night. He faced 44 Panthers shots. That total tied a season high for the Panthers (Feb. 15 vs Ottawa).

Justin Peters
A lot of great choices but the Hurricanes goalie was the best player on the ice and was the main reason the Panthers were without a goal for about 55 minutes.

44 Shots, 42 Saves, .955 SV%
There's not much time to think about the Hurricanes game as the Panthers are right back at it on Sunday in Sunrise. Florida hosts Montreal in a 5pm start. The Canadiens, who last played on Friday (a 4-1 loss in Washington to the Capitals) enter the game with the least amount of points in the Eastern Conference with 58 (24-28-10). Montreal is led offensively by Max Pacioretty (46 points in 59 games), Erik Cole (44 points in 62 games) and D Desharnais (44 points in 62 games). In goal, Carey Price has seen the majority of the crease, recording a 22-23-9 record with a 2.40 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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