Rock you like a Hurricane: Panthers top Hurricanes
After a mediocre start to the month of October, the Florida Panthers entered Friday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a different mindset. Rather than relying on the defence and goaltending to conserve a tight game, they decided to break out in Sunrise, Florida with an offensive slaughter of the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
David Booth got things started early in the first for the Panthers as he fired the puck past Cam Ward just 2:05 into the opening frame for his 5th of the season. Carolina tied the game up at 8:02 of the first period as Erik Cole sent a Jussi Jokinen pass around Tomas Vokoun for his 3rd goal of the year. The Hurricanes then took their only lead of the night 2 minutes later as Tim Gleason found the back of the net behind Vokoun for the 2-1 lead.
The Panthers would then make a goaltending change as they were unhappy with Vokoun’s effort after he allowed 2 goals on just 7 shots. The change seemed to spark some life into the Panthers as shortly after the change Stephen Weiss would beat Cam Ward for his second goal of the season, to tie the game all up at 2. That wasn’t enough for Florida as 6 minutes later, Mike Santorelli scored to put the Panthers ahead 3-2 late in the period. But, Carolina was not satisfied going into the locker room down a goal, as Tuomo Ruutu scored just 7 seconds after the Santorelli goal to send things into the first intermission all tied at 3-3.
The second period was not quite as interesting as the first, as Chris Higgins was the only player who found the back of the net, as he took a centering pass from Radek Dvorak which he then fired stick side with a wrist shot to beat Cam Ward with 3:17 remaining in the second as the Panthers headed into the second intermission with a 4-3 lead.
Marty Reasoner then increased the lead to 5-3 at 2:26 of the third when he one-timed Dvorak’s pass from behind the net, past Ward. But, that was short lived as 2 minutes later, Sergei Samsonov picked up his third of the year as he tipped in Jay Harrison’s shot from the point past Clemmensen to cut the lead to 5-4. But, this time the Hurricanes would not manage to draw even, despite Carolina having a huge opportunity when the Panthers were called for two minor penalties at the same time. But, Florida held Carolina without a shot on the power play until Reasoner drew a holding penalty with 21 seconds left in the two-man advantage.
Michael Frolik scored his second of the season with just under 3 minutes remaining in the game to put the Panthers ahead 6-4. Stephen Weiss would cap things off as he added the empty netter for his second of the night as Florida secured the two points with a 7-4 victory.
Scott Clemmensen finished with 24 saves in the win for the Panthers, Cam Ward made 43 saves for the Hurricanes in the loss.
Florida sent 50 shots on net Friday night, as they now have 105 shots in two games after they set a franchise record with 55 shots in a 4-3 home loss to the Atlanta Thrashers Wednesday night. The Panthers also set a franchise first by playing its 11th game to start the season without going to overtime. The Panthers went the first 10 without an overtime game during the 1995-96 season.
Panthers Forward Cory Stillman left the game in the first period because of an upper-body injury and did not return. Florida D Keaton Ellerby was recalled from Rochester to replace Jason Garrison, who missed the game because of a groin injury.
Note: The home team won every meeting between the Panthers and Hurricanes last season. The finale of the home-and-home will go Saturday night in Raleigh, North Carolina.