Aaron Ekblad scored with 9.3 seconds left in overtime after his apparent winner moments earlier was wiped out by a replay review, and the Florida Panthers beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone score two overtime goals in the same game,” Florida coach Joel Quennville said.
Carter Verhaeghe got the Panthers to overtime with a hat trick and they snapped a three-game losing streak that marked their longest of the season. Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves in the first of back-to-back games between the teams in Dallas.
Ekblad scored on a backhand on a 2-on-1 after being denied a goal with 47.8 seconds remaining in the extra period when a video review determined he was offside.
“I was very discouraged,” said Ekblad, whose 11 goals this season tied him for the most among NHL defensemen. “It hurt, but right after, they put me right back out and I was given the opportunity.”
“Made up for being offside,” Verhaeghe said.
Denis Gurianov, John Klingberg and Joel L’Esperance scored for the Stars, who haven’t won consecutive games since opening the season 4-0-0. They were coming off Thursday’s victory over NHL-leading Tampa Bay.
Anton Khudobin stopped 24 shots in his third straight loss (0-1-2).
“We need to win games,” Klingberg said, with the Stars six points out of the last playoff berth in the Central Division after playing in last season’s Stanley Cup Final. “We’re going to have to go on a run here pretty soon.”
Verhaeghe took the team lead with 15 goals with his second career hat trick and picked up the scoring slack as Florida played without two of its most productive forwards because of injury: captain Aleksander Barkov (13 goals, 37 points) and Patric Hornqvist (12 goals, 25 points).
With the Panthers coming off a shutout loss Thursday in Chicago, Verhaeghe scored 24 seconds in on the game’s first shot on goal. He added his second late in first period on the power play after Gurianov and Klingberg had given Dallas a 2-1 lead.
Verhaeghe stole the puck from defenseman Miro Heiskanen in Dallas’ defensive zone while killing a penalty and whistled a wrist shot from the left circle to the upper far corner at 17:40 of the second period.
VERHAEGHE’S BIG NIGHT
The second-year forward who signed as a free agent last fall following a season with Tampa Bay scored 5-on-5, on the power play and short-handed.
“I was hoping he’d get an empty-netter,” Quennville said, “but we’re dreaming a little bit there in color.”
Verhaeghe also took some stitches – six or seven by his count – on an eyebrow during the first intermission.
“I think it was my helmet,” he said. “I went into the boards hard.”
AT THE OTHER END
Between Ekblad’s offside goal and his game-winner, Bobrovsky made point-blank saves on Heiskanen and Klingberg.
“You can’t ask for better scoring chances than we had in overtime,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “Two guys all alone in front of the net. You give their goalie credit.”
The Panthers are 14-0-1 when leading after two periods and 11-5-1 on the road. The Stars are 0-9-7 when trailing after two periods and 2-9 in games decided in overtime. … Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 900th consecutive game, the longest current streak and third-longest in NHL history, and the longest among defensemen. … Barkov (lower-body injury) is doubtful to return Sunday, and Hornqvist (undisclosed injury) is expected to miss a week. … Roope Hintz, second on the Stars with 10 goals, missed his eighth game in the last 18 with a nagging lower-body injury. … Joel Hanley had two assists for Dallas, his first multi-point game of the season.
Sunday’s game will be the fourth of a five-game homestand for the Stars and the fourth of a five-game road trip for the Panthers.
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