RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville gave all the credit for his team’s latest win to backup goalie Chris Dreidger.
Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist in the third period, Dreidger stopped 42 shots, and the Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 Saturday night.
“Over the course of the season, you get some goalie wins,” Quennevile said. “That was one of them.”
Brian Boyle, Evgenii Dadanov, and Noel Acciari also scored for the Panthers, who won their third straight. Driedger helped Florida end five-game losing streak to the Hurricanes and get its first win at Carolina since 2015.
Dreidger, the backup to Sergei Bobrovsky, won for the second time in three starts this season.
“I just try to play my game, keep things simple, try to slow the game down and give the guys the best chance to win,” he said.
The Hurricanes swarmed Driedger in the opening minutes of the game but he stopped all 13 shots he faced in the opening period, including a key save on Warren Foegele.
Dreidger needed a refresher about that big save.
“Which one was that?” asked Driedger, who has spent the bulk of his career in the minors.
Driedger stopped Foegele’s backhand attempt just 5 minutes in with his blocker and then cleared it away with his paddle.
“Oh, yeah,” Driedger said. “Geez. Well, that’s a lucky one, for sure.”
Nino Niederreiter and Lucas Wallmark scored for Carolina, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games. Petr Mrazek finished with 18 saves.
The Panthers’ defense also helped out their goalie with 23 blocked shots.
“Their goalie was great,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I give him credit. I give (them) credit for blocking a lot of shots. They were sacrificing and doing the things necessary to win a game.”
Boyle tipped in Aaron Ekblad’s shot on a power play with 8:26 left in the second period to extend the Panthers’ lead to 2-0.
He set up Dadanov at 7:07 in the first period for the Panthers’ first goal after a turnover by Carolina defenseman Jake Gardiner led to a breakaway.
“When you get out of the first with a lead on the road, that’s a win right there,” Driedger said.
The Hurricanes returned home after a 5-0-1 road trip against Western Conference teams. They had 13 goals in the past three games.
The Panthers were on the road for the first time since Nov. 27. They went 5-4-0 during a franchise-record nine-game homestand.
Huberdeau scored 26 seconds into the third period to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
The Hurricanes scored twice in the third while firing 20 shots at Dreidger.
“We gave (Driedger) more work than we wanted to but he was awesome,” Boyle said.
Niederreiter tipped in a shot to cut Florida’s lead to 3-1 at 9:16 but Acciari, with an assist from Huberdeau, answered 1:25 later.
The Hurricanes pulled within two again on a power-play goal by Wallmark, assisted by Niederreiter, with 7:01 left.
NOTES: Hurricanes C Erik Haula returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 16. He had missed 19 of the previous 21 games with a knee injury. Haula opened the season with seven goals in the first nine games but only has one since. … The win snaps a five-game losing streak to the Hurricanes for the Panthers. Carolina has a 9-2-1 record against the Panthers in the past 12 meetings. … Acciari has seven goals in the past three games for the Panthers.
Hurricanes: At Toronto on Monday night.
Panthers: At Tampa Bay on Monday night.
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