The Carolina Hurricanes continue to have trouble with teams of the Southeast Division as they dropped a game to the last place Florida Panthers, 4-1 at the PNC arena on Tuesday night. The Panthers were decimated by injuries and had won just one game in their last 10, but proved to be too much for Carolina in this one.
After an evenly played first period in which both teams put 17 shots on goal, Florida outshot the Canes 11-5 in the second and 16-12 in the third to take control of the game.
The first two periods of the contest were quiet on the scoreboard but the Panthers scored four times in the third period, including two consecutive powerplay goals, one with a 5-on-3 advantage, to put the home team away.
Tomas Fleischmann opened the scoring when Tomas Kopecky took a pass away from Bobby Sanguinetti who was behind the Carolina net. Goalie, Dan Ellis, had no chance on the play as Kopecky faked shot and passed to his teammate, right in front of Ellis.
A bit later in the period, Jamie McBain was called for slashing and Jay Harrison for delay of game after sending the puck into the crowd on a clearing attempt. Florida would then score their two powerplay goals in a little over a minute as they worked the puck well inside the Carolina zone.
With 2:33 left, Jordan Staal would skate the puck all the way to the net and beat Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom to get the Canes on the board, but the Panthers would answer with an empty netter to close things out.
The Canes at one time were playing with just three defensemen as Bobby Sanguinetti, Tim Gleason, and Justin Faulk were all injured and in the dressing room. Gleason and Sanguinetti got stitched up and returned to action, but Faulk suffered a lower body injury and did not return.
Coach Kirk Muller said the loss of a defenseman hurt his team.
"Not to make excuses, but I think the loss of Faulk really made it tough on our D going into the third."
The coach would not criticize his group.
"I thought we worked hard tonight," he said. "I mean it was 0-0 going into a back-to-back game. There were two 5-on-3's and give them credit they capitalized on it. But as far as going right down to the end I don't think anyone quit. The guys went hard, we just didn't get the results we wanted."
His goalie disagreed. Dan Ellis was upset after the game and blasted his teammates.
"They out-worked us, that's all it comes down to. I mean you look at their lineup they don't have any superstars, they're all injured. They stick to a game plan and they work."
When asked about arriving late last night after the back-to-back scenario, he did not back off.
"We are all professional athletes here and you prepare for that. Whether you get in at 2:30 or not. Teams in the West get in at 2:30 all the time and play the next day, I mean there is no excuse. Guys had the morning off. We didn't have to skate or anything. They had the day to rest up. We just didn't work."
Ellis played a good game himself but was overwhelmed in the third period. The goalie made 41 saves on 44 shots.
The Hurricanes will next take on the Devils on Thursday night at home.
- The Canes were outshot 44-34 which would support Ellis' comments.
- Carolina is now 7-7 at home.
- The team will not practice on Wednesday. (From the Hurricanes media relations department)