Brent Burns scored two goals as the Carolina Hurricanes clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 6-4 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla
Each team scored four goals in the third period, two apiece in the final three minutes as both teams concluded the regular season.
After Florida tied the score 2-2 with two goals to start the final frame, Burns and Jesper Fast scored 21 seconds apart to put Carolina back on top to stay.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Shayne Gostisbehere and Sebastian Aho also scored for the Hurricanes (52-21-9, 113 points), who will face the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs
Carolina finished one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils (52-22-8, 112 points), who edged the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime on Thursday.
The Hurricanes, who got 31 saves from Frederik Andersen, improved to 35-1-4 when leading after two periods
Aleksander Barkov, Ryan Lomberg, Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers (42-32-8, 92 points), and Alex Lyon made 30 saves. Lyon was considered the Panthers' third-string goalie until late last week, when he began a stretch of eight straight starts in which he went 6-1-1
Because of the loss on Thursday, the Panthers will face the top-seeded Bruins in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Boston (65-12-5, 135 points) set NHL records for most wins and most points in a single season
Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas had three assists, his first multi-point game in four years
Carolina opened the scoring with 8:21 gone in the first. The Hurricanes won a faceoff before passes from Seth Jarvis and then Aho got the puck to Burns, who fired from the point. Burns' shot went in off Verhaeghe's body
The Hurricanes made it 2-0 just 72 seconds into the second on Kotkaniemi's unassisted goal
Florida got back in the game on Barkov's goal with 1:14 elapsed in the third and Lomberg's tally with 3:33 gone.
Burns then used a screen by teammate Jesse Puljujarvi to score on another long shot at 6:07. Then, at 6:28, Fast made it 4-2 by whacking in a rebound off a Jordan Staal shot.
With less than four minutes left, the Panthers had a six-on-four advantage thanks to a penalty on Gostisbehere and Florida coach Paul Maurice's decision to pull Lyon
However, Gostisbehere came out of the box just in time to steal a Barkov pass and fire into an empty net for a 5-2 lead.
The Panthers rallied again with goals by Duclair (with 2:02 left) and Verhaeghe (with 1:23 remaining) before Aho's empty-net goal with 60 seconds to go ended the scoring
--Field Level Media