The Florida Panthers were intent on making up for their poor showing in Raleigh Saturday night and came out flying Sunday in Sunrise, Florida, but the Carolina Hurricanes survived an early flurry, jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and then held on to win 3-2, to sweep the home-and-home weekend series with the Cats.
Cam Ward was playing an excellent game and had a shutout going until he got injured midway through the second period. It did not look good as the goalie had to be helped from the ice and the official word is that Ward has a lower body injury. There is no word yet how long he will be out.
An ill Dan Ellis replaced Ward and also made several tough saves as the Panthers put almost constant pressure on the Canes throughout much of the game.
After Carolina withstood a barrage of shots from the home team to start the game, Justin Faulk and Alexander Semin would score in the last two minutes of the first period to stake the Hurricanes to a lead.
Faulk's goal was unassisted as he fired in an attempted clear near the blueline, 18:08 into the period.
Just a minute later, Semin took a pass from Jiri Tlusty and placed a perfect shot past goalie Scott Clemmensen to help celebrate the Russian's 29th birthday.
Six minutes and change into the second period, Jeff Skinner fed Jordan Staal a nifty pass from behind the net and Staal made no mistake to give the Canes a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Florida came roaring back and put even more pressure on in the Carolina zone.
Ward would then get injured as he got knocked down twice in the crease. Ellis was scheduled to start this game but Ward got the nod because the backup was not feeling well. Still, Ellis played very well under the circumstances.
The Panthers outshot the Canes 13-2 in the third period as the visitors became too passive and defensive orientated. Super rookie, Jonathan Huberdeau, scored his second goal of the game with 55 seconds left, but the Canes held on the rest of the way to escape with the win.
Next up will be Buffalo on Tuesday night, the first contest of a three game home stand.
- The Canes were outshot 36-24, almost a reversal of the previous night. Eric Staal, Riley Nash, and Jeff Skinner led the team with three shots each. Staal also won 75% of his faceoffs.
- Faulk had a team high 23:49 of ice time, a goal, two blocked shots, and finished with a (+2). Jay Harrison had (+3).
- Tim Wallace was plugged in on the second line with J. Staal and Skinner. He had a team high five hits. Brett Sutter was next with four.