Hurricanes fall to Panthers in overtime, but earn a point after third-period comeback

By Chip Alexander

RALEIGH, N.C. — Goaltender Alex Lyon led the Carolina Hurricanes out for pregame warmups Saturday, an early surprise.

But Antti Raanta, the Canes’ expected starter against the Florida Panthers, was injured. Frederik Andersen had played Friday against Calgary. It was Lyon’s net.

Then the Panthers scored on the first shot of the game. And scored again in the first period and again early in the second.

The Panthers would go on to a 4-3 victory, but they needed to do it in overtime, on an Anthony Duclair goal with 2:07 left in the extra period. Taking advantage of a poor pass and turnover by the Canes’ Brady Skjei, Duclair delivered the winner.

Carter Verhaeghe had a pair of goals and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his 16th win of the season for the Panthers (23-7-5).

Seth Jarvis’ goal early in the third period pulled the Canes into a 3-3 tie, the rookie forward taking a pass from Sebastian Aho and beating Bobrovsky to the short side from the right circle.

Teuvo Teravainen had a power-play score for the Canes (24-7-2) early in the game, and Skjei’s goal — yes, the defenseman scored again — pulled Carolina within 3-2 in the second period.

Jordan Staal had a chance to tie it in the opening seconds of the third but was denied, but not Jarvis. Shifted to Aho’s line with Teravainen during the game, he picked up his sixth of the season at 1:45.

The Canes had two power plays in the third and the Panthers had their power-play chances. But it took overtime.

So it went in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. It was physical but not dirty, with little open ice, tough board battles and shots contested. Lyon had 33 saves as the Canes were outshot 36-27.

The Panthers spoiled the Canes’ 9-0 start to the season with a 5-2 win Nov. 6 in Sunrise, Fla. They were scheduled to face the Canes at PNC Arena on Dec. 27 but had the game postponed by the NHL as it assessed COVID-19 conditions around the league.

In the November game, the Panthers bolted to a 4-0 lead in the first period, scoring three times on the power play. The Canes never recovered.

The Panthers had quick starts in the first and second periods Saturday. Jonathan Huberdeau beat Lyon off the rush 70 seconds into the game. Carter Verhaeghe did it 35 seconds into the second period with a shot from the left circle.

It was a tough spot for Lyon, who had won his only NHL start this season, beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Nov. 13. He was reassigned to the Canes’ taxi squad Friday and then activated Saturday with Raanta unable to go.

Lyon is 9-1-1 with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this season but last played Dec. 18 as the Wolves had games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.

After Huberdeau’s early score, Lyon faced three more shots in the next 30 seconds. Verhaeghe’s first goal, at 17:40 of the first, came after Lyon got his glove on the shot but had the puck trickle across the goal line.

Teravainen’s power-play score came on a top-shelf bullet of a shot, the winger taking a pass from Tony DeAngelo, skating into the left circle and firing away as defensman Aaron Ekblad was slow to cover.

It was Teravainen’s 10th goal of the season and his sixth on the power play — the winger had four power-play scores in 89 games the past two seasons.

Bobrovsky had two pucks nearly squeak past him at the post in the first period — the first on a shot by Andrei Svechnikov, then Seth Jarvis a few shifts later.

The Panthers entered the game leading the NHL in goals scored with 132. They had scored 29 goals and had 166 shots in their past five games (4-0-1), leading the NHL in both categories since Dec. 29.

Bobrovsky had built a 15-3-3 record this season before Saturday, but gave up five goals in his last start, Thursday in a 6-5 shootout loss to Dallas.

The Panthers were without four forwards in Saturday’s game. They announced Saturday that forward Patric Hornqvist had entered the NHL COVID-19 protocol, joining Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment.

Sam Bennett was serving the final game of a three-game suspension for his high hit on Cedric Paquette of the Montreal Canadiens.

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