SUNRISE, Fla. — Martin Necas scored 1:59 into overtime and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Monday night.
Brett Pesce and Vincent Trochek also scored for the Hurricanes, who won at Florida for the second time in three days. Alex Nedeljkovic had a career-high 44 saves.
Necas also had the shootout winner in Carolina’s 4-3 win Saturday night as none of the three games between the teams were decided in regulation.
“It feels good. You just end the game,” Necas said. “I really like 3-on-3. There’s a lot of space. You can make some skilled plays.”
Frank Vatrano and Eetu Loustarinen scored in the third period to give Florida the lead, and Chris Driedger finished with 24 saves. The Panthers have lost three of four.
Vatrano tied the score 1-1 at 4:40 of the third with his seventh goal of the season and third in three games.
Loustarinen put the Panthers ahead with 3:09 remaining with his third.
However, Trocheck got his 11th just 1:36 later against his former team.
“It never feels good to lose those (late leads) and go into overtime, but it happens and we just have to learn from it and move forward,” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said. “It was a huge point for us again.”
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was pleased with his team’s grit and never-say-die attitude.
“Obviously that’s not how you would draw it up. The third period was a little shaky for us,” he said. “But I love how our guys are digging in. They seem to never quit. It’s two points and we’ll take them.”
Carolina’s speed and intensity in the offensive zone paid off in the early going. On the man advantage, Pesce fired a one-timer for a 1-0 lead with 6:25 left in the first. Pesce’s third goal, coming with Patric Hornqvist in the box for roughing, followed his two-assist effort against the Panthers on Saturday night.
“Good teams find ways to win,” Pesce said. “You’ve got to find a way. It was a gutsy win, but we all know we could (play better).”
Carolina escaped a 4-on-3 situation late in the second period as the Panthers dominated in the Hurricanes’ end for over a minute. During that Florida surge, Nedeljkovic made a clutch snap glove save off a blast by Aaron Ekblad.
Pesce praised the effort of the Hurricanes’ backup netminder.
“(Alex) deserved that win so bad,” he said. “We had a lot of breakdowns and he was there to clean it all up and to get that win for him is huge.”
Florida appeared to have tied the game on a power play in the first period, but a quick whistle nullified the goal. Video replay showed Nedeljkovic never had control of the puck, leading to boos at the referees throughout the rest of the game.
Jake Bean had an assist on Pesce’s goal, giving him seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last nine games for Carolina.
Vatrano, whose last three goals have all come in the third period, has six goals over the last 11 games.
Barkov played in his 500th NHL game, becoming the 11th player in franchise history to reach that milestone in a Panthers’ uniform. Barkov, who had six goals and eight assists in 14 games during February, is the sixth player to reach the 500-game mark while spending his entire career with Florida.
“That’s a huge accomplishment for myself, obviously,” Barkov said. “It means a lot; even one game in this league is a dream and every game for me is living the dream.”
The game drew 3,817 fans, including Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, to the BB&T Center. The Panthers are one of only 10 teams allowing a limited number of fans, with the Columbus Blue Jackets set to join that group Tuesday.
Hurricanes: At Nashville on Tuesday night.
Panthers: At Nashville on Thursday night.