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Florida Takes Out Carolina: Panthers 4, Hurricanes 1

The Carolina Hurricanes started out slowly, fell behind 2-0 in the opening period, and ended up being stymied by goalie Tomas Vokoun as the Florida Panthers put an end to the visitor's seven game winning streak, 4-1. 

The Canes only put two shots on goal throughout most of the first period, but were able to get some shots through near the end after they earned a powerplay.  They ended up being out-shot 15-6 in the period.

Michael Frolik and Kamil Kreps scored for the Panthers. 

There was no scoring in the second period, but the Hurricanes had several opportunities on the powerplay, including over a minute of a 5-on-3 advantage, but they were unable to get a puck past Vokoun.  In all, the team was 0-8 with the man advantage.

In the third period, Carolina really got their game together and they were able to put a lot of pressure on consistently in the Florida zone.  Vokoun was equal to the task until Jussi Jokinen scored his team leading 25th goal of the season at about the eight minute mark, making the score 2-1.  Brandon Sutter and Tuomo Ruutu picked up the assists on the weird goal which bounced up over the Florida goalie.

The Canes continued the pressure to no avail until eventually Cory Stillman got a nice pass out front from Steven Reinprecht and the ex-Cane beat Justin Peters with about 3:30 left in the game. 

Paul Maurice pulled the goalie in the last minute and Kreps took a perfect feed from Stillman and buried the empty netter to finish the scoring.

The Hurricanes travel to Atlanta immediately following the game for a match against the Thrashers at 5 p.m. Sunday.  The game will not be televised locally and is not scheduled to be televised by the Thrashers either, but there is a chance they might stream it from the jumbotron feed.  Otherwise, it will be 99.9 The Fan or nothing for that game. 

Game Notes:

  • The ineffective powerplay cost the team this contest as they could not get anything going even though they had several chances.  Paul Maurice said after the game that the powerplay was "not moving", or was not "moving fast enough.".  The coaching staff put Erik Cole on the point for the first time in a long time and Cole seemed ineffective in the role.  There was no reason given why the powerplay pairings were changed from Thursday night.  Pitkanen and Picard were on the first team and Pitkanen and Gleason manned the second.
  • Give some credit to the Panthers.  Vokoun played very well and his teammates were blocking shots all night.  They finished with 19 blocked shots compared to 3 for the Hurricanes.  That's not a typo, the Canes only had 3 blocked shots for the game.
  • Justin Peters made several fine saves in the losing effort.  He can not be faulted with any softies in this game and did well to keep his team close as he made save after save throughout the second and third periods.  Unlike the Canes, who could not seem to get any clear attempts in the Florida zone, the Panthers had a couple of breakaways and other open shots which Peters stopped nicely.
  • Brandon Sutter had a very good game and extended his scoring streak to five games as he assisted on the Jokinen goal.  He came close to scoring himself on a couple of superior efforts.
  • Tuomo Ruutu and Tom Kostopoulos led the team with five hits each.
  • The Canes did well on the pugilistic side of things as Jay Harrison took down Nick Tarnasky and Tim Gleason did well against Bryan Allen, (from what little was shown on the telecast).

There is not much more to report about this game.  Obviously, if the team wants to keep any slight hope alive for the postseason, they can not afford many more losses.