Wednesday’s late night with the Panthers went almost 90 minutes into Thursday as Anaheim sent Florida to a tough 3-2 shootout loss that ended at 1:26 a.m. on the East Coast.
It probably should have ended a good 10 minutes before that — and the Panthers wished it had.
Florida led 2-1 in the final seconds of the third period before Corey Perry pounced on a power-play deflection and beat Roberto Luongo to tie the score with 5.1 seconds remaining.
Coach Gerard Gallant was incensed along the bench, cursing at officials who missed two calls which would have gone against Anaheim in the final minutes.
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Brian Campbell was sent to the box for high-sticking Perry in the final minute of regulation.
On the game-tying goal, Perry jumped on a puck that ricocheted off Florida’s Dave Bolland and onto Perry’s stick.
“It was very frustrating, obviously,” Gallant said.
“I’m not too happy. You all saw what happened the last five minutes, so what do you do?”
The goal was Perry’s first of the season and the first home power-play goal of the season for an Anaheim team that won consecutive games for the first time as it has just three wins this year.
Anaheim was 1 for 5 on the power play Wednesday; Florida was 0 for 3 and has just one power play goal away from Sunrise.
In the shootout, Florida took a 1-0 lead on Brandon Pirri’s goal in the opening round, but didn’t score again.
Chris Stewart, who tied the score at 1 in the second, got the game-winner in the fourth round as Jonathan Huberdeau was stopped by Henrik Andersen.
Florida led 1-0 on a goal from Anaheim native Rocco Grimaldi as he shot a puck off Cam Fowler and past Andersen 5:01 into the second.
“It’s exciting, especially with people that have loved me through thick and thin and have gotten me to this point,’’ Grimaldi said of playing at Honda Center for the first time as an NHL player.
“Family, friends, trainers, all of those people, it’s tremendous to play in front of them and it’s definitely special, but I wish I would have given them something better with a win instead.’’
A few minutes later after Grimaldi’s goal, Stewart sniped a shot over Luongo’s glove moments after Nick Bjugstad’s penalty ended.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead into the second break as Erik Gudbranson got his first of the year by ripping a shot off a Bjugstad rebound.
In the third, Stewart had another great chance, this time to tie it, on a power play opportunity when he was robbed by Luongo with 3:41 left.
Jumping on a rebound, Stewart fired falling to his right and Luongo was able to somehow dive to his left and snare the puck.
Luongo was terrific on Wednesday, making 37 saves although after Perry’s goal, Luongo smashed his stick into the boards by the Florida bench in frustration.
“Luongo played outstanding and that was a big reason why we were in the game,’’ Derek MacKenzie said.