RALEIGH — The Florida Panthers ended the Hurricanes’ season-opening nine-game winning streak back in November in dominant fashion, and it looked like they would easily end another Saturday night.
Up two goals late in the second period, Florida seemed poised to waltz to a win. But the Hurricanes erased the lead before Anthony Duclair scored in overtime to give Florida a 4-3 win in front of a sellout crowd Saturday at PNC Arena.
After Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei’s attempted stretch pass to Sebastian Aho was intercepted, Jonathan Huberdeau got the puck to Duclair, who faked out Alex Lyon for the winner 2:53 into overtime.
“We had a lot of guys who didn’t play good, we’ll just leave it at that,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said after the loss. “It was tough to find a handful of guys that you could say, ‘Wow, they’re on their game tonight.’”
The loss snapped the Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak but reaching overtime gave Carolina its 50th point of the season in just its 33rd game.
It wouldn’t have happened if not for another Hurricanes rally.
After getting behind 3-1 at the start of the second period, the Hurricanes chipped away at Florida’s lead and forced overtime.
With just under six minutes left in the second period, Skjei extended his goal streak to three games with a one-timer that beat Sergei Bobrovsky (24 saves) to cut the lead to one.
Then Brind’Amour’s reshuffled lines paid off as Aho got the puck to Seth Jarvis and the rookie accelerated past two Florida defenders. He ripped a shot past Bobrovsky for his sixth goal of the season and a tie game at 1:45 of the third.
“After my first step, right when I pushed off, I felt like I had open space, and then it’s just a matter of keeping my feet moving,” Jarvis said. “When I kind of pulled away, that’s when I can set my feet and pick my spot, and I was lucky enough that that went in.”
Brind’Amour succinctly added, “That’s the talent. Can’t teach that.”
At the other end of the ice, Lyon — playing for the first time since three weeks ago with AHL’s Chicago Wolves and the second time for the Hurricanes this season after being promoted from the NHL’s newly formed taxi squad earlier in the day — shook off a rough start to keep Carolina in the game.
“We kind of threw him into the mix here,” Brind’Amour said of giving Lyon the start in the second of the team’s back-to-back games. “He was good. He’d probably like to have that first one back, but he dug in, made some real big saves and allowed us to at least get back in the game.”
Starting because Frederik Andersen had played the night before and Antti Raanta was unavailable due to an upper-body injury, Lyon got a rude welcome back to the NHL.
The Panthers got on the board first when their first shot of the night, a wrister in the slot by Huberdeau, beat Lyon five-hole for a 1-0 Florida lead just 65 seconds into the game.
“I was really proud of the fact I let in a poor first goal and then was able to battle back,” Lyon said. “
The Hurricanes evened the score on the power play. With former Carolina prospect Eetu Loustarinen in the box for interference, Teuvo Teravainen shot from the left circle and picked the far side top corner on Bobrovsky to tie the game at 3:34 of the first.
Florida regained the lead late in the first when, after Derek Stepan fell in the neutral zone, Carter Verhaeghe called his own number on an odd-man rush and leaked a shot through Lyon to regain the lead at 2-1 at 17:40 of the opening period.
Verhaeghe extended the lead to two just 35 seconds into the second period by cleanly beating Lyon for the second time to make it 3-1.
But after Skjei scored, Lyon settled in and finished the night with 33 saves to help the Hurricanes get one point in the standings.
“I felt like maybe the first 30 minutes of that game I was scrambling a bit, and then found a little bit of a rhythm there,” Lyon said. “But that’s pretty typical for being off for a while. It takes a little time to get the feel back.”
Notes: Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s point streak ended at six games. … Aho has two assists and now has multiple points in seven of his last nine games. … Aleksander Barkov won 23 of 32 faceoffs.