SUNRISE, Fla. – Stephen Weiss wasn’t ready to call it the greatest goal of his career, but it was certainly one of the most spectacular.
His second goal of the game 43 seconds into overtime gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Weiss scored as he was falling to the ice because of a hook after goalie Craig Anderson stopped David Booth’s wrist shot from the side. The goal came on a delayed penalty.
“It was a big goal for sure, just for the club and personally,” Weiss said. “It’s been a bit of a struggle, so it feels good to get it. Scored some big ones. Don’t really want to say that’s the biggest one of all time, but certainly to this point of the season it’s a big one.”
It was Weiss’ second game-winner in Florida’s last five games. He also beat Tampa Bay on Nov. 27 with a shootout goal.
“A big second effort,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. “That second-effort goal is what he’s all about.”
Bill Thomas and Booth also scored for Florida, which has won two straight following a three-game losing streak. Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves and earned his 250th NHL victory.
Florida improved to 3-0 this season after regulation.
“It’s amazing,” Weiss said. “It’s not really been our forte in the past. The best teams find ways to get those points in shootouts, overtimes. Those are huge, and to be able to get those gives us a big boost.”
John-Michael Liles, Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene scored for the Avalanche, who have lost four in a row.
Anderson, who served as Vokoun’s backup for two seasons before signing with Colorado last off-season, made 21 saves.
“It was kind of back and forth, and whoever made the most mistakes was going to lose,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately we didn’t play the way we wanted to. We turned over the puck at some key times and that cost us the game. That’s it in a nutshell.”
On “Throwback Night,” the Panthers celebrated the their 1996 Stanley Cup finals appearance against the Avalanche, who beat them for the championship that season. The captains from those teams—Florida’s Brian Skrudland and Colorado’s Joe Sakic—dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Reminiscent of 1996, some plastic rats were thrown onto the ice after Weiss’ winning goal.
Duchene gave Colorado a 3-2 lead at 1:59 of the third period when he skated around defenceman Dennis Wideman and beat Vokoun with a low shot between the legs.
It was the sixth time in seven games Duchene had scored.
“I’m not doing much different,” he said. “Things are coming a little easier. The big thing is I’m shooting the puck more on goal, and you get rewarded.”
Booth tied it at 4:11 when he skated across the line, deked forward David Jones, and fired a wrist shot that beat Anderson to the glove side.
O’Reilly’s goal at 17:39 gave Colorado a 2-1 lead, but Weiss tied it 1:16 later off a nice feed from Steven Reinprecht. Weiss one-timed Reinprecht’s pass from behind the net, beating Anderson on the short side.
“It was a huge comeback goal,” DeBoer said. “We’ve been in that situation a bunch of times this year and haven’t had a response. It was nice that both our big guys responded to goals against—Weiss on that shift and then Booth in the third period. That’s where you need all your best players.”
Notes: Weiss’ first goal moved him past Nathan Horton and into sole possession of third place on the Panthers’ career scoring list with 296 points. … Colorado’s Kevin Shattenkirk had his point streak snapped at nine games, leaving him one short of the NHL record for a rookie defenceman. … Florida D Bryan Allen missed his seventh game because of a broken bone in his foot. … This was the third of a five-game road trip for Colorado that includes matchups against all five Southeast Division teams. … Florida recalled F Evgeny Dadonov from Rochester of the AHL. … Liles’ goal tied him with teammate Adam Foote as the highest-scoring defencemen in team history. Both have 254 points with the Avalanche.