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Panthers top Canucks in SO
Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Huberdeau scored the lone goal in the shootout and Tim Thomas stopped all three attempts in the tiebreaker to give the Florida Panthers an extremely rare 3-2 road victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Thomas and Roberto Luongo squared off between the pipes in the shootout, just as they had in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals when Thomas led the Bruins past the Canucks for the title.
This time, Thomas denied Mike Santorelli, Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins in the shootout to secure the Panthers' first win in Vancouver since Mar. 7, 1994 -- the franchise's first season in existence.
Thomas finished with 27 saves while Brad Boyes and Shawn Matthias scored in regulation for the Panthers, who have won three of their last four.
"The guys played hard and really felt like what it was like to play 60 minutes," Panthers head coach Pete Horachek said.
Luongo put together a solid showing with 34 saves, but it was not enough to end Vancouver's losing streak, which at five games (0-3-2) is the club's longest since an 0-5-3 skid from Jan. 9-31, 2009.
"I just don't know what we're thinking as far as how we start a game," Canucks head coach John Tortorella said. "I can't explain it."
Higgins and Jannik Hansen netted regulation goals for the Canucks, though the former hit the post on the final shootout attempt.
The Canucks came in with the No. 1 penalty-killing unit and showed why in overtime when they neutralized Florida's chance with Higgins in the box for hooking.
Vancouver had the puck in the offensive zone for the final minute of the extra session but couldn't get one past Thomas.
Facing his first test in the shootout, Luongo was too slow with a poke check on Huberdeau's deke, which proved to be the difference.
Hansen was sent off for interference 2:16 into the game, and Boyes beat a sprawled-out Luongo on the ensuing power play.
Vancouver applied pressure early in the second and found the equalizer when a bouncing puck landed between a slew a bodies in front of Thomas, who couldn't see Higgins snap in a shot at the 3:26 mark.
Hansen cashed in on a poor Panthers turnover 2:45 into the third period to put the Canucks ahead, but the Panthers tied it six minutes later. Nick Bjugstad caught the defense on its heels along the boards and fed a pass to the high slot for Matthias, who one-timed it home with 11:26 remaining.
The Panthers were 0-5-1 with five ties in their previous 11 games in Vancouver ... Florida is 3-3-0 since interim head coach Peter Horachek replaced a fired Kevin Dineen on Nov. 8 ... Boyes has scored goals in three of his last four games ... Thomas improved to 4-1-0 in five regular season meetings against the Canucks.
11/20 02:35:09 ET