The Carolina Hurricanes, dejected after three losses to Tampa Bay, had a reason to smile Saturday.
The Canes beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout for a road victory as Vincent Trocheck won in his return game to BB&T Center against his former team. Another former Panther, Canes goalie James Reimer, also was a winner.
Martin Necas had the winning shootout goal for the Canes (13-6-1). Trocheck, who scored the Canes’ first goal of the game, also scored in the shootout, as did Dougie Hamilton. Caroiina won for the 10th straight time in a shootout.
Another player celebrating Saturday was defenseman Jake Bean, who scored his first NHL goal.
Warren Foegele’s goal at 14:05 of the third had put the Canes in front 3-2 came with help from Brett Pesce, who earned his second assist of the game and his 10th of the season.
The Canes led 2-0 after Bean’s goal early in the third, but the Panthers fought back for a 2-2 tie. Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal and Frank Vatrano tied the score at 10:13 of the third.
Hornqvist also scored in the shootout for the Panthers (13-4-3).
The Canes scored twice on the power play. Trocheck scored in the first period, his 10th goal of the season.
Bean, a former first-round draft pick by Carolina, scored at 1:30 of the third period in his 13th NHL game for a 2-0 lead. Pesce and Necas had assists.
The Panthers scored on a power-play after Andrei Svechnikov was called for holding. Hornqvist was credited with the goal at 8:13 as Reimer couldn’t smother the puck, which slid past his right skate and across the goal line.
Florida then tied it 2-2 on a rush into the Canes end as Frank Vatrano finished off a pass from Mason Marchment.
Second period: Canes keep 1-0 lead
The Canes, with some aggressive penalty killing, had three shorthanded chances in the second period, all on the same Panthers power play, but couldn’t add to their 1-0 lead.
After a Brady Skjei penalty at 10:46 of the second, the Canes’ Sebastian Aho, Brock McGinn and Martin Necas each had a chance to score. Aho hit the post. McGinn’s backhander was stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky, who then poked-checked the puck away from Necas.
Through two periods, Canes goalie James Reimer has faced 20 shots and Bobrovsky 17.
First period: Canes lead 1-0
In a tight-checking first period, the Canes have taken a 1-0 lead on a power-play score by Vincent Trocheck in his return to BB&T Center to play his former team.
After Trocheck was tripped, the Canes twice set up him up for shots that were stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky. The score came on a Trocheck redirection of a Dougie Hamilton shot through traffic. It was his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
The power-play goal came after the Canes were 0-5 Thursday in a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay and was their first in three games.
Combined with some calm, effective play from goalie James Reimer, who stopped 12 shots in the period, it allowed the Canes to take the lead.
The Panthers had an early power play in the period after a Jordan Martinook penalty but the Canes killed it off as Reimer made four saves.
Having lost three straight games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes have changed Florida locales, had a day off to rest and refresh and are ready for what’s next.
The Florida Panthers -- that’s what’s next.
The Canes (12-6-1) continue the Florida swing of the road trip Saturday with a game Saturday against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. That would be the Florida Panthers, current leaders of the Central Division with 28 points, one point ahead of the Lightning.
The Canes had Friday as an off day and some of the players headed to the golf course, some bareplayingfoot on a balmy day, and others to the beach.
“Definitely a good day,” defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. “It was nice not to be stuck inside.”
The third loss to the Lightning, on Thursday in Tampa, was galling. The Canes lost 3-1 -- the third goal a late empty-netter -- despite having the edge in five-on-five play in a game in which neither team scored on the power play. Tampa Bay goalie Curtis McElhinney, in his third start of the season, had 31 saves.
The Panthers were 11-2-2 before splitting their last four games, the losses coming to the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars. The Panthers have scored five or more goals six times this season, beating the Red Wings 7-2 on Fab. 19.
“They’re a high-octane team,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Saturday morning. “Their transition game is probably the best in the league.”
The Panthers scored three goals in a span of 3:11 in the third period to top Dallas 3-2 in their last game.
A lot of the focus in Saturday’s game will be on Canes’ Vincent Trocheck. The center once was a fixture in the Panthers lineup and popular player until his trade last February to Carolina, and he’s returning to BB&T Center for the first time.
“It’s just a little weird being back here on the other side,” Trocheck said Saturday after the morning skate. “Being in the visitors locker room, I don’t think I’ve ever been there before. It’s just another game, really, another game against a really good team that we need to come out and play hard against.”
The Canes and Panthers played Feb. 17 at PNC Arena, and the Panthers came away with a 4-3 overtime victory. That was Trocheck’s first time going up against his former teammates, and he had a third-period goal that tied the score 3-3 and had five shots.
“I’ve played these guys once, so playing against my old friends is kind of behind me now,” he said.
Trocheck has nine goals and seven assists in 18 games but did not have a point in the three-game losing streak to Tampa Bay.
Goalie James Reimer will again be the starter as Brind’Amour said Saturday that there would be no lineup changes from Thursday’s game in Tampa.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner again will a scratch unless Brind’Amour makes a game-time decision and change. Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean will be the third defensive pairing.