Carolina scores four in the third to best Cats yet again
Carolina is now 4-0-1 against the Panthers this season and have won the last four meetings.
Aleksander Barkov provided all the offense for the Cats, staking his team first and second period leads.
Barkov opened the scoring 11:19 into the first when he collected a loose puck and flipped a backhander over Petr Mzarek after the goaltender came out to break up MacKenzie Weegar’s attempted pass to Carter Verhaeghe, who earned the secondary assist on the play.
MacKenzie Weegar goes COAST-TO-COAST, and Aleksander Barkov buries the biscuit!
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) April 6, 2021
Sergei Bobrovsky stood on his head during the middle frame, stopping 16 of 17 shots including a highlight reel save on Jesper Fast, but he could not prevent Vincent Trocheck’s power-play goal at the 18:03 mark. Trocheck has scored in all five games of the season series.
It took Barkov just 27 seconds to restore Florida’s lead. This time the captain took a cross from Verhaeghe, who had just received a drop pass from Mason Marchment, and unleashed a one-timer that Mrazek had no chance on.
Just a beaut! @Barkovsasha95 tallies a pair! ✌️
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) April 7, 2021
Frank Vatrano’s took an interference penalty before the second intermission and it would cost the Panthers early in the third when Dougie Hamilton’s fluttering, seeing-eye shot caught a screened Bobrovsky’s sweater and found the back of the net 45 seconds in.
Jordan Staal got the game-winner at 8:34 with a hard, but stoppable wrister that leaked through Bobrovsky and was inadvertently pushed over the goal line by the skate of Radko Gudas, who buzzed the crease looking to help out. Unlucky, as the Cats were in pretty good position to clear the puck away given another a second.
Staal would power his way to a second goal into an empty net at 18:20, and Fast would add another with Bobrovsky on the bench to close out the scoring.
It has been a magical season for the Panthers, who remain in first place thanks to Columbus’ win over Tampa Bay, but little to none of that magic has carried over to its games against the Hurricanes, who always seem to get just enough puck luck to keep squeaking out close wins. Carolina has now taken the last two games of the season series in regulation. The shots on goal count was even at 36-36, but the Hurricanes went 2 for 4 (Florida went 0 for 2) with the man advantage and won 58% of the faceoffs. Once again, the Cats left Trocheck, who also added an assist, open down low on a power play, and once again he made them pay. The recipe for Thursday night’s game: keep a closer eye on Trocheck, stay the frak out of the penalty box, and win more draws. Oh, and some secondary scoring would be nice, too.
Wind & Water
- Aleksander Barkov produced his second two-goal game of the season. He has collected at least a point in each of the past five games he’s played in, amassing eight points (4G/4A) over that stretch.
- Carter Verhaeghe delivered his ninth multi-point performance of the season. He now leads the club with 32 even-strength points.
- MacKenzie Weegar extended his point streak to three games and led the Cats with 22:08 TOI and six hits (tied with Patric Hornqvist). Weegar’s 23 even-strength points are currently tied for first in the NHL among defensemen.
- Sebastian Aho collected three assists for Carolina. Other Hurricanes with helpers were Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele.
- Radko Gudas registered three hits and three blocked shots and Alex Wennberg led the Panthers with five shots on goal.
- Petr Mrazek is 4-1-0 with an 0.99 goals-against average, .962 save percentage and three shutouts this season. The Cats have now lost to all three Carolina goalies this season.
- From more on Carolina’s rally in Raleigh, visit Canes Country.