Jordan, Marc, and Eric Staal were all on the ice at FLA Live Arena. This time, Marc and Eric represented a Panthers club looking to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time since their first two games of the season.
The Cats managed to do just that. Behind a stellar performance from young goalie Spencer Knight, the Panthers shut out the Hurricanes by a 3-0 final tally.
Carolina’s start was, in a word, dreadful.
The Panthers jumped all over the Hurricanes in the opening minutes of the first period, and they didn’t relent much through the rest of the frame.
One of Florida’s several lengthy offensive zone shifts ended with a goal near the midway point of the first. In a puzzling sequence, Dylan Coughlin lost track of Nick Cousins and failed to recover and track him down before he cashed in on an easy backdoor goal on Antti Raanta.
Florida followed up their goal with more dangerous scoring attempts, including a long breakaway from Sam Reinhart that Raanta made an outstanding save on with his outstretched right pad.
Raanta held things together for the Hurricanes, whose play deserved a larger deficit than the one they exited the first period with.
On the other end of the ice, it was the fourth line (now featuring Jack Drury) that produced the most consistent offense. They pinned the Panthers in their own zone on multiple shifts, and Drury very nearly tied the game, but his bid went wide of a yawning cage.
A sloppy opening 20 gave way to an equally rocky start to the second period. On the first shift of the frame, Jordan Martinook got whistled for an offensive zone high-sticking penalty, and the Panthers went on the hunt.
Raanta stood on his head from start to finish and earned a beneficial bounce on an Alex Barkov shot that rang the crossbar. By the end of Florida’s power play, less than three minutes into the period, they had already piled up 18 shots on goal.
While their first penalty-killing effort was more of a one-man show, their second assignment just before the midway point of the period was much better. They locked the Panthers down, held them without a shot on net, and used it to build some momentum.
After another push from the fourth line, a new-look Aho line had a good shift, with Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Tervainen swapping spots in the lineup, but Spencer Knight made a couple of nice saves to keep the Hurricanes off the board.
Most of Carolina’s chances in the second period weren’t very dangerous, though. They threw more shots toward the net, sacrificing quality in the process and not making it difficult on Knight.
A third second-period minor penalty on the Hurricanes gave the Panthers another chance up a man, but the road team remained perfect on the PK and kept the game within a goal.
Aided by a pair of power plays, Carolina started to mount quality chances on Knight, but they couldn’t capitalize. Their momentum got halted by a Drury tripping penalty at 8:49, and the fourth time was the charm for the Cats.
Carter Verhaeghe blew by the Hurricanes’ PK at the blue line and saucered a gorgeous pass to the tape of Barkov at the backdoor to make it a 2-0 game.
The Hurricanes tried to claw their way back, but it was too little too late with Knight on top of his game and the Panthers playing them tough to the very end. Sam Bennett potted an empty-net goal with six seconds left in the third period, and that was all.
The Hurricanes have now dropped back-to-back games after their 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Sunday. They will hit the ice again tomorrow night when they return home and take on Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers beat the Hurricanes in their first head-to-head matchup of the season in Alberta.