Riley Nash (1G 2A), Jussi Jokinen (2G 1A), and Alexander Semin (3A) each had a three point night and the Canes scored first, scored often, and dominated most of the night to earn their first win against a Southeast Division opponent this season.
The win puts Carolina in sole possession of first place in the division.
Jokinen would open the scoring just 6:23 into the game on a Nash assist, then Jiri Tlusty scored his 10th of the season after being set up by Semin just two minutes later.
The Finn would score again, just 49 seconds later when Nash got the puck to him again as he floated to the slot area wide open.
Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen had a rough night for the visitors and had to spell an injured Jose Theodore when the starter had to be helped off the ice after making a stop just 2:22 into the game.
The Panthers would score to make it 3-1 before the end of the opening period, but the Canes held a 13-7 shot advantage and controlled the game at this point. It was just the second time this year the Hurricanes took a first period lead with them to the locker room. (They won the other against Ottawa as well.)
At 5:22 into the second period, Riley Nash would score his first career NHL goal when Patrick Dwyer held the puck patiently until Clemmensen committed before passing it to the open center. Later in the period, Eric Staal scored on a nice set up by Semin, and the rout was on.
Late in the second, with just 45 seconds left, Filip Kuba scored his first of the season to make the score 5-2, but Staal would score again in the third, again after a nice move by Semin, to make it 6-2 and close things out.
All in all it was another excellent team effort and everyone contributed to this one.
Also in the third period, Justin Faulk showed another positive attribute to his game as he took on Stephen Weiss after it looked like Weiss went after him with an elbow. The young defenseman pulled the center's jersey over his head old school and took him down for the decision. Weiss got a game misconduct for his effort, (along with five minutes for fighting and two for elbowing).
The Canes outshot the Panthers 34-24 and continue to lead the NHL with shots on goal, (33 per game).
Both teams traveled immediately after the game to Florida where they will meet again for a 6 pm game on Sunday.
- Joni Pitkanen left the game early due to a lower body injury. Kirk Muller did not know how serious it was in the post game presser.
- Jokinen led the team with five shots on goal and this was easily his best game of the season.
- Not only did Semin have three assists and finish with a (+3), he made another dynamic defensive play to break up a 2 - on - 1 odd man rush during a Carolina powerplay. The Russian continues to show an all around game for the Hurricanes.
- Drayson Bowman had a team high four blocked shots.
- Chad LaRose led the team with five hits. Tim Wallace and Bowman had four apiece.
- Videos of interviews follow.