Trailing 2-1, Charlotte got a game-tying goal from Wallmark with 1:51 to go and a penalty shot save by Leighton with 21 seconds left on the clock to earn a point for the first time in their last six games. They were unable to earn the desired two, however, as the Condors’ Joey LaLeggia won it during the extra session.
The result halted Charlotte’s regulation losing streak at five, though its road winless streak of nine games (0-7-2) marks a new franchise record.
Unlike their earlier comeback that occurred last Saturday in Ontario, one that saw former captain Brett Sutter score in the final minute to rob the Checkers of a point, Leighton was able to preserve it thanks to his penalty shot save on Braden Christoffer. The play began when Checkers defenseman Klas Dahlbeck, who was making his team debut while on a conditioning stint from Carolina, slashed Christoffer on a shorthanded breakaway. It ended with a block by Leighton, who returned from Carolina earlier in the day but is likely to rejoin the Hurricanes for their game in San Jose on Saturday.
Leighton, who is now 6-2-2 as a Checker, finished the game with 23 saves.
The late-game drama was set up in part by Zykov’s team-leading seventh goal of the season, in which he calmly collected the rebound of an Andrew Poturalski point shot and deposited it past netminder Laurent Brossoit, who had shut out Charlotte exactly one week earlier. The goal ended the Checkers’ 0-for-32 skid on the power play and was their first on the man advantage since Nov. 22.
Following that goal on their first man advantage opportunity of the evening, Charlotte would go on to miss out on a minute-long, five-on-three chance to start the third period and their late-game window that ultimately resulted in Christoffer’s penalty shot chance.