ANAHEIM, Calif. – If David Booth had to pick a favourite, his first goal Sunday would probably get the nod.
Booth scored three straight goals for his first NHL hat trick, Craig Anderson made 44 saves and the Florida Panthers recovered from an early miscue to end a six-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Looking to win the finale of a five-game road trip and end their lengthy winless skid, the Panthers found themselves down 1-0 after Anderson gave up a goal to Corey Perry on the Ducks’ first shot, less than two minutes into the game.
But Booth was able draw the struggling Panthers even 2:19 later, lofting a backhander past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
“It was good to get that first goal, we’ve given up the first goal a lot lately and haven’t come back until the third, so to get one right away helped our team out,” said Booth, the former Michigan State star who added two more goals in the second period.
Jassen Cullimore and Steven Weiss each had two assists for Florida.
Anaheim outshot the Panthers 45-26, but was thwarted by a sprawling and acrobatic performance by Anderson over the final 58 minutes.
“It was desperation, just reacting without thinking about what your doing,” said Anderson. “Whatever it takes to stop the puck.”
The Ducks launched 20 shots at Anderson in the third period.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Anderson,” Perry said. “We were in front of him and banging away, but he laid his pads on the ice. A lot of pucks just kept bouncing off his pads and then he covered them up. Its just one of those nights where it just didn’t go in the net for us.”
Giguere made 23 saves. Dallas’ Mark Parrish also had a hat trick Friday night against Anaheim in a game that snapped the Ducks’ standings points streak at nine games.
“I didn’t think we were physical enough and I didn’t think we executed to the level that necessary until later in the hockey game,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “In the NHL, it takes 60 minutes to win and I don’t think we played 60 minutes.
Booth’s hat trick was the first by a Florida player Richard Zednik had three goals in an 8-0 victory at Toronto on Feb. 5.
“I was just putting the puck on net, we had good screens in front,” said Booth, who wasn’t quite sure the last time he had scored three goals in a game. “I think it was in college, maybe against Lake Superior State.”
The Ducks looked as if they were ready to get back on track after the loss Friday.
Perry took a drop pass from defenceman Steve Montador and cut to the net to score his fifth goal of the season 1:41 after the opening faceoff. But Booth quickly responded.
“That was a big lift, sometimes when you give up an early goal the spirits of the team kind of get down, we battled back after my mistake,” said Anderson.
Florida took a 2-1 lead in the second period when Booth beat Giguere with a one-timer from the slot off a pass from Weiss.
The Detroit native completed his hat trick, circling from the corner to Giguere’s left and snapping a wrist shot from the faceoff circle past the goalie, during a power play with 1:48 to play in the second.
Notes: Montador faced the Panthers for the first time since signing with Ducks as free agent last summer. He played 196 games for Florida from 2005-08. … Panthers defenceman Nick Boyton was a healthy scratch for the first time this season.