Doink. Doink. Winner.
Noel Acciari scored with 5.6 seconds left in the third period and the Florida Panthers rallied to win their fifth straight game, beating the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Monday night.
Despite his stick being held by Ryan Suter, Acciari was able to tip in a shot from the point by Mark Pysyk that was first tipped by Aaron Ekblad. A video review upheld the goal.
“That's what you call a break, very opportunistic break,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.
“Yeah, it was pretty crazy,” added Keith Yandle, who had a goal and three assists for Florida. “Mark Pysyk, the hybrid does it all. Defense, forward — great shot by him. I think it was double tipped. Game-winning goal in a building that has been tough for us to win in.”
It was Florida’s first regulation victory in Minnesota. Since a 2001 scoreless tie during the Wild’s inaugural season, Minnesota was 10-0-1 at home against Florida, including seven wins in a row.
Aleksander Barkov added a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Evgenii Dadonov and Vincent Trocheck also scored. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves in his second consecutive start after missing two games with an upper-body injury.
Florida has won six of seven and 12 of 16 to move into third place in the Atlantic Division.
“Huge win, especially with the break coming up there, in the tight race we’re running,” Trocheck said.
Luke Kunin had two goals, including one short-handed, Zach Parise scored on the power play and Jared Spurgeon added a goal and an assist for Minnesota, last in the Central Division and seven points out of a playoff spot. Alex Stalock stopped 20 shots and Joel Eriksson Ek and Suter each had two assists.
“Pretty disheartening,” Parise said. “From getting ourselves back into the driver’s seat and feeling like a few more shifts and we had to close it out to not getting a point out of it, that’s a tough one right now where we are. That’s a tough one to take.”
Kunin’s second goal of the game — a snap shot from the slot off the glove of Bobrovsky — gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead 7:06 into the third.
But Trocheck beat Stalock between the pads with 4:08 to go, tying the game at 4.
With the score tied 2-all, Dadonov lifted his stick waist-high to redirect a shot by Yandle early in the third, but Parise countered just more than two minutes later, putting in a rebound for his fifth goal in four games. Parise has a career-best four straight games with a power-play goal.
Minnesota has seven power-play goals in 13 chances during the past four games after going 4 for 27 in the previous 10.
“The power play is going good and we got a short-handed goal. When you get those things, you’re supposed to win. The tightness of the race, those are the games that really you look back at,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.
A highlight-reel effort by Barkov put Florida up 2-1 midway through the second.
Receiving a long outlet pass from Josh Brown just inside the blue line, the Florida captain sped past Carson Soucy through the right circle and cut across the crease before flipping a shot into the top right corner as he continued moving left.
Yandle scored early in the first for Florida, which is 22-2-2 when getting the game’s first goal.