It was a pivotal game for the Carolina Hurricanes and their dwindling playoff hopes, but despite holding a 2-0 lead in the third period, the Canes let two points slip away, falling to the Florida Panthers in the shootout, 3-2. Justin Faulk and Jussi Jokinen scored for Carolina, and Justin Peters made 42 stops and kept the team in the game with 19 first-period saves.
The Hurricanes earned one point, moving into 14th place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points and a 23-26-13 record.
1. The overtime scrum that led to matching minors for Florida's Erik Gudbranson and Carolina's Eric Staal took the game to 3-on-3, but also took the Hurricanes' best player off the ice. For whatever reason, referees Marcus Vinnerborg and Brad Watson chose those two out of countless suspects, taking a bottom pairing D off the ice for the Panthers and Staal — the leader among all forwards in ice time with 23:43 — and putting them in the box. Furthermore, Florida's Kris Versteeg dropped the gloves after tussling with Jiri Tlusty, but did not receive the customary unsportsmanlike conduct minor for doing so.
2. For anyone who is still sleeping on Faulk as a viable option for the Calder Trophy, it's time to wake up. The Carolina rookie blueliner scored his seventh goal of the season, three more than any other first-year defenseman, five of which have come on the power play. Those five man-advantage goals already tie him for seventh in franchise history for power play goals in a season by a defenseman — and he's done it in just 46 games. He had some turnovers that surely need to be eliminated, but any time you can give a 19-year-old defenseman 28 minutes of ice time and see more positives than negatives, you know you have something special.
3. The Hurricanes' shootout woes continued Saturday, losing their sixth shootout of the season to remain winless under those circumstances. In a small bit of good news, Jeff Skinner scored in the shootout, making him the first Cane not named Jussi Jokinen — who has two tallies in the shootout — to get one past an opposing goalie. Still, Carolina remains the only NHL team without a shootout victory.
Number To Know
0 — Shots for Skinner, just the second time this season he has been held without a shot. The other was in a Nov. 14 loss to Philadelphia. In both games, Skinner still notched an assist.
Justin Peters — Peters faced an onslaught of shots throughout the game, specifically in the first when Florida outshot Carolina 19-9 but the Hurricanes still came out of the period with a 1-0 lead courtesy Peter's play and Faulk's power play goal. Peters finished with 42 saves and improved his save percentage to .931 — but he fell to 2-3-2 on the season.
Jiri Tlusty — For the first time in a long time, Tlusty looked like a passenger on the Staal train instead of the engineer. While Staal continued his solid play, Tlusty struggled to create opportunities on the night, and was also on the ice for both of the Panthers' goals. He was given a chance to redeem himself in the shootout and had Florida goalie Jose Theodore beat, but the puck rolled off his stick. His nine-game point streak came to an end.