NHL

Huberdeau, Panthers beat Canucks in shootout

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The Canadian Press
11/20/2013 1:05:31 AM
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VANCOUVER -- Jonathan Huberdeau scored the only goal of the shootout Tuesday as the Florida Panthers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.

Shawn Matthias and Brad Boyes had the goals for Florida (6-12-4), which got 27 saves from Tim Thomas.

Jannek Hansen and Chris Higgins scored in regulation for Vancouver (11-8-4). Roberto Luongo finished with 34 saves through regulation and overtime as the Canucks lost their fifth straight.

Vancouver has scored just six goals over that five-game slide.

The Canucks killed off a full two-minute penalty in overtime, with Luongo making a huge pad stop on Huberdeau.

Vancouver then poured it on in the final minute of the extra period, but couldn't find a way past Thomas.

The 39-year-old goalie, who led the Boston Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup in a memorable seven-game victory over Vancouver, had not given up a goal at Rogers Arena since Game 5 of the final.

Playing in just his second game back after a long absence with a lower-body injury, Hansen jumped on a bad clearing attempt from Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann and wired a shot past Thomas for his third of the season at 2:35 of the final period to tie snap a 1-1 tie.

After the teams exchanged chances, Matthias brought the Panthers back to level terms by ripping his third of the season past Luongo from the slot at 8:34.

Down 1-0 after a lacklustre first period, the Canuck's came out with some renewed intensity in the second and were rewarded when Higgins beat Thomas through a maze of legs for his seventh goal of the season at 3:26.

Thomas, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP with Boston back in 2011, then made a big stop on Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows before Daniel Sedin sent a shot from the right faceoff circle just wide.

Luongo didn't have much to do in a second period that lost steam after Vancouver's initial surge, but did make a good save on streaking Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad with under two minutes to go.

Florida opened the scoring at 3:43 of the first period against the NHL's No. 1 penalty killing unit. With Canucks forward Jannik Hansen off in the box for goaltender interference, Aleksander Barkov's shot off the post bounced right to Boyes, who beat a down-and-out Luongo for his eighth of the season.

That goal seemed to stun the Canucks, who looked like a team that thought they were going to have an easy night against the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Vancouver's 26th-ranked power play went to work midway through the period, but the Panthers had the best chance when Luongo was forced to make a big save on a Marcel Goc breakaway.

Burrows, who has yet to score this season in 11 games, then hit the post on a Florida power play with about five minutes to go in the period.

Notes: Canucks forward Dale Weise returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. He took the place of David Booth, who has just one goal and two assists in 13 games this season. ... Former members of the Panthers on the current Canucks' roster include Luongo, Booth, Higgins, Mike Santorelli and Jason Garrison. ... Luongo, who was with the Panthers from 2000 to 2006 before being dealt to the Canucks, still ranks first among all-time Florida goaltenders for wins (108), games played (317) and shutouts (26). ... The Panthers had won two of three coming into Tuesday, including a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday that was the 200th of Thomas' career. Thomas took last season off before signing with Florida during training camp. ... The Canucks continue their six-game homestand on Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. ... The Panthers are in Edmonton to take on the Oilers on Thursday for the third game of their four-game road trip. ... The Canucks and Panthers meet again March 16 in Sunrise, Fla.

Tim Thomas Jonathan Huberdeau (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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