Allen nets winner; Panthers down Hurricanes in OT
The Florida Panthers maintained their unbeaten streak in 2011 as they downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime Monday night in Raleigh, North Carolina.
After losing a two-goal lead in an arena they’ve struggled to win in, the Florida Panthers had reason to brace for the worst.
It all got started in the first period as Zac Dalpe scored his second goal of the season on a funny play as Scott Clemmensen got caught behind the net with Canes’ forward Troy Bodie. Bodie flicked the puck in front of the net, and Dalpe easily taped it home for the 1-0 lead at 4:13 of the first period. The lead would not last, as Dennis Wideman tied the game up with :32 seconds remaining in the first, as he wired a slap shot from the point, that beat Cam Ward, to tie the game at 1.
In the second, Florida would take the lead, as Chris Higgins took a pass from Dmitri Kulikov and sent it past Ward for the 2-1 Panthers lead at 8:03 remaining in the second, a lead they would keep heading into the third period. Higgins would get redemption after Ward stopped him on a breakaway just 5 minutes earlier.
In the third, Cory Stillman would take a feed from Mike Santorelli and wrist it past Cam Ward for a two goal lead, a lead which the Panthers felt comfortable with, enough to sit back, and cruise to the victory. But, that was not the case, as Zack Boychuck scored his third of the season, to cut the lead to 3-2 just under a minute later. The Canes would then draw even with just over ten minutes remaining in the period, as Jay Harrison scored his first goal of the season as he sent a snap shot past Clemmensen to tie the game at 3.
Once again, the Panthers had let a two goal victory slip away, something not unfamiliar in the RBC Center, as they have only boasted a 5-25-2 record all time in the arena as they entered the game.
But, the tides would turn as Shawn Matthias made a drop pass to Bryan Allen which he wired past Cam Ward just 1:16 into overtime for the victory.
“It’s tough,” Allen said. “Obviously our history (here) doesn’t help. We’ve got to try to change that. Little steps like tonight helps give us a little confidence."
Scott Clemmensen made 34-saves, after Tomas Vokoun had been given the night off, as the Panthers improved to 5-1-2 in their last eight games, and 18-17-2 on the season. Cam Ward made 24-saves for the Hurricanes in a losing effort.
“We were wondering when the last time the Florida Panthers were about .500,” Allen said. “It’s good. We’ve got to keep chipping away.”
The Panthers will return home where they will commence a short two-game homestand, as they welcome another division rival, the Atlanta Thrashers, Wednesday night, before hosing the Hurricanes on Friday. The Canes’ on the other hand will fly to New York where they will face the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Note: Florida hit two goal posts in the first 6 ½ minutes into the game... The Hurricanes were 13-1-2 when scoring first.