EditorsNote: 3rd graf, deletes ‘third-period’ reference after goalies saves;
Defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored 22 seconds into overtime for his second goal of the game as the Florida Panthers rallied from a four-score deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on Thursday night at Sunrise, Fla.
Ekblad skated in from the right circle and went top shelf on the short side to finish the string of five unanswered goals.
The Panthers, who entered Thursday ranked second in the NHL with 30 third-period goals, added two more on Thursday. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to earn the win.
Max Jones, Nick Ritchie, Rickard Rakell and Ondrej Kase scored for the Ducks, who led 4-0 late in the second period.
Panthers winger Brett Connolly scored two goals in a span of 27 seconds in the second period, starting Florida’s comeback. Ekblad scored with 8:05 left in the third, and Dominic Toninato tied it 4-4 with 4:23 remaining.
John Gibson made 23 saves for Anaheim, but he couldn’t stop the Panthers in the final 22 minutes.
Anaheim opened the scoring with 17:15 elapsed in the first period as Jones deposited a rebound into the right side of the net, which was wide open. It was the third goal of the season (all in the last six games) for Jones, who was Anaheim’s first-round pick in 2016.
The Ducks increased their lead to 2-0 with 7:17 gone in a wild second period that featured five goals. Anaheim’s Sam Steel won a faceoff against Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov to start the sequence. Five seconds and four passes later, Ritchie scored on a one-timer from the left circle.
Anaheim made it 3-0 with 15:50 expired in the third, scoring just 13 seconds after Florida center Denis Malgin was penalized for tripping Steel. On the goal, Rakell fired from the left circle. Bobrovsky, bothered by Jakob Silfverberg’s screen, had the puck go in off his glove.
Kase’s goal with 18:39 gone in the second gave the Ducks a 4-0 lead. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle’s attempt at a long stretch pass was gloved down by Kase, who then fired on goal and scored on his own rebound.
Just 14 seconds later came Connolly’s two-goal barrage in the final minute-plus of the second period, cutting Florida’s deficit to 4-2. Both goals came from virtually the same spot in the slot, and Connolly’s second wrist shot went in off the glove of Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler.
The goals by Ekblad and Toninato then sent the game to overtime.
—Field Level Media