Probably the most memorable moment of at least the past 10 years for Panthers fans is that of the team’s playoff berth during the 2011-12 season. Fans filled the BB&T Center (known then as the BankAtlantic Center) like never before and even more-so for Game 7 on April 26th, 2012. Read on for a look back at the goal that kept the Panthers’ hopes alive just over three years ago.
Marcel Goc signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract with Panthers when the 2011 free agency period opened on July 1st, and it would not take very long for the Panthers to find out just how big of a signing that was. The Panthers had a 3-2 series lead entering game 6 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals, but would lose game 6 by a score of 3-2 in overtime bringing the two teams to a game 7.
The Panthers were down 2-0 heading into the third period but came roaring back as they were known to do throughout the 2011-12 season. Stephen Weiss scored on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle with just under 15 minutes remaining in the third period making it a one-goal game, and they’d go on the powerplay with under 4 minutes left after a Marek Zidlicky delay of game penalty.
At the beginning of the powerplay, Tomas Kopecky fed Goc for a one-timer from the left faceoff circle, but it deflected off a New Jersey Devils player and appeared to hit the netting behind the crease, however Goc noticed it didn’t a followed the puck as it fell to the ice. He was able to cycle the puck back to Brian Campbell at the point who then gave it to Bergenheim at the halfboards. Bergenheim made a move to lose his defender and got a shot on net which created a rebound for Goc on the goal line, and he was able to shoot it past Martin Brodeur with ease thanks to the net-front presence of Kopecky.
The arena went nuts and rightfully so. The Panthers were back in the game and had a chance to win game 7. It would take until about four minutes into the second overtime period for rookie Adam Henrique to get the puck past Jose Theodore and end the series. Despite the Panthers’ last playoff berth coming three years ago, hopes are still high for the young core assembled by GM Dale Tallon and the anticipation is mounting for the upcoming season which begins at home on October 10th.