The Carolina Hurricanes were a step behind the Florida Panthers most of the night as they fell to the team that eliminated them in the playoffs last year, 5-2.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi started off the scoring just a minute and change into the game, but the home team would tie things up less than two minutes later when Matthew Tkachuk notched one for Florida.
The Panthers would score again late in the period to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Barkov would make it 3-1 in the second before Sebastian Aho knocked in a rebound to bring the Canes within one.
That is as close as Carolina would get. The Panthers scored again in the third to put some distance between them and the Canes and then would put in an empty netter to close the game out.
After the game, some quotes from the coach put things into perspective.
“They were good, we were bad. That’s not going to work............Our top guys weren’t very good tonight. You’re not going to win if they’re not consistently at least matching the other team’s top guys. If you watch their top guys, they were all over. I don’t know where our top guys were.”
Other players had similar comments. Check out the interviews here:
The Hurricanes will try again in Tampa Saturday night.
- Aho was the only player who finished at (-3). Several players had (-2).
- Kotkaniemi not only scored, he had a team high four hits and won a team high 75% of his faceoffs. The team finished at 59% for the night. Staal also had four hits.
- The powerplay did not generate any shots on goal and finished 0-3.
- Burns had a team high four blocked shots. The Panthers had 25 blocked shots compared to 15 for Carolina.
Game Summary - https://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20232024/GS020205.HTM
Event Summary - https://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20232024/ES020205.HTM