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The Carolina Hurricanes saw two points disappear from their grasp in the last six minutes of regulation against the Florida Panthers, and they eventually lost 3-2 after a 2-1 shootout decision. It was the Canes’ sixth loss in the shootout this season, an event in which they’ve yet to record a win. Stinging even worse is the fact that this loss came at the hands of a divisional opponent the team is chasing. “It was a tight game, a playoff-type game with huge implications for us,” Eric Staal said. “We had a lead and had them where we wanted them.” Justin Peters had another excellent outing, making 42 saves on 44 shots. Once again, the guys in the locker room credited him with giving the team a chance to win. After throwing seemingly everything at the net, a couple of bad bounces in the third period led to Florida cashing in on their two goals. “Gosh, I needed to make that last save for the boys in the shootout there,” a dejected Peters said. “It’s tough to lose like that.” The maturation of 19-year-old defenseman Justin Faulk has been an absolute treat to watch. Though he might not win it, he should, without a doubt, be nominated for the Calder Trophy. The amount of minutes he logs – and against top lines in the NHL, to boot – is a feat for his age. His power play prowess is something, as well. In the first period, he took Stephen Weiss off the puck one-on-one in a brilliant, legal play: he squared him up, gave him a little shove and protected the puck. Later in the period, he sniped a top-shelf power play goal. “He’s been doing it consistently,” head coach Kirk Muller said of Faulk’s play. “He’s doing offense, defense. To me, he’s as good as any rookie in the League right now.” The Hurricanes lost forward Patrick Dwyer to a lower-body injury with about seven minutes remaining in the first period. His status is unknown at this point, but he did not return to the game. Muller said he would know more in the coming days. “He’s been a big part of that line,” Muller said, in reference to the checking line. “His speed would have been important tonight with a team like Florida that had a good tempo.” Staal extended his point streak to eight games with the primary assist on Faulk’s first period goal. Tlusty saw his nine-game point streak come to an end. Jussi Jokinen scored his second goal in 13 games in the second period, and shot first in the shootout; his shot went wide. “When you’re scratching and clawing … it’s frustrating to lose a point,” Staal said. The three-on-three at the tail end of overtime was very entertaining. I know the idea of three-on-three hockey following four-on-four overtime sessions has been discussed, and I’d be in favor of it. Failed two-on-one rushes one way result in two-on-one rushes the other way in an instant. Line changes are hard to convert, and it creates frantic hockey. Very exciting, in my mind. A short memory will be important for the Canes moving forward. They earned a point tonight, and now they will have to look toward Nashville on Tuesday. “Our guys are playing as hard as they can. As a coach, I can’t ask for more from our guys,” Muller said. “We’ll keep going at it and grinding it out. It’s a point. We’ve just got to stay up and keep battling away.”
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Stephen Weiss scored the winning goal in the third round of the shootout, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
Wojtek Wolski, obtained in a trade from the New York Rangers earlier Saturday, scored the tying goal for Florida with 1:47 left in the third period after Tomas Fleischmann cut the Panthers' deficit to 2-1 at 13:58.
Justin Faulk and Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation for Carolina, which has dropped two consecutive games in shootouts. The Hurricanes are 0-6 in the tiebreaker this season. Faulk has three goals, all on the power play, in five games.
Mikael Samuelsson also scored in the shootout for Florida. Jeff Skinner tallied for Carolina.
Jose Theodore made 26 saves for the Panthers, who have won three straight on the road but are only 1-3-1 in their past five games overall.
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal extended his point streak to eight games and his assist streak to seven, when he helped set up Faulk's first-period goal. Carolina is 9-0-6 in its last 15 games in which it scored first.
Carolina, outshot 19-9 in the first period, took the lead on its first power play at 18:01 when Faulk's blast from the high slot beat Theodore over his left shoulder.
Jokinen made it 2-0 at 17:32 of the second. He took Skinner's pass from behind the net in the low slot and flipped the puck over Theodore's right shoulder.
Fleischmann scored his 20th of the season at 13:58 of the third, with an assist from Kris Versteeg.
Wolski tied it 2-2 when he beat Peters from the right circle.
NOTES: Hurricanes RW Patrick Dwyer sustained an undisclosed lower body injury in the first period and didn't return. ... Carolina C Jiri Tlusty had a nine-game point streak end. ... Florida coach and former Carolina captain Kevin Dineen was a 1982 first-round draft pick of the Hartford Whalers, who became the Hurricanes in 1997. . Florida won the two previous meetings between the teams. ... Hurricanes forwards Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose both sat out a fifth straight game because of undisclosed upper body injuries. . The Panthers were without C John Madden (four games, lower body) and C Marcel Goc (two games, lower body).