|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
It didn’t take the Carolina Hurricanes long to get back on their game.
The Canes rebounded in nice fashion after a poor third period in Florida on Wednesday night, getting a clinching power-play goal by Cory Stillman with 8:53 left to beat the Panthers 4-2 and improve to 8-3-3.
Carolina controlled most of the game, but was clinging to a one-goal lead before Erik Cole drew a slashing penalty as he drove to the net with 9:10 left. Seventeen seconds later, Stillman sealed it when he tipped in a shot from the blue line by Matt Cullen, who continued to star on the Carolina power play.
“We were all upset and angry by the way we performed (Wednesday night) and it’s not often you have the luxury of going right back at the team that just beat you, so certainly we wanted to prove something. But more importantly it was a divisional game,” Cullen said.
“We definitely came out with a purpose,” added goaltender John Grahame. “It was one of those things that we stressed in the last couple of days of practice. We wanted to be intense and I think that showed from the get-go. We had an extra little step, an extra jump. The way things ended the other night, everybody had their own opinion of what happened, so we wanted to play well.”
Cullen, re-acquired in an offseason trade from the New York Rangers, has scored nine of his 15 points so far on the power play.
“It’s fun to be back there and we have some really good players to play with,” said Cullen, who played on Carolina’s Stanley Cup winning team of 2006 before leaving as a free agent. “It’s pretty easy for me when you’ve got guys like Ray Whitney, Rod Brind’Amour and Stillman passing to you. It has been good so far.”
Twice the Hurricanes went up by two goals in the second period, but went into the locker room clinging to a one-goal lead.
A 2-0 lead came after Chad LaRose forced a Florida turnover, then finished off the play in the slot after taking a centering pass from Brind’Amour. It was LaRose’s first point in five games.
The Panthers made it 2-1 less than a minute and a half later before Trevor Letowski rammed home a rebound on a hot shot by Jeff Hamilton after another Florida turnover deep it its zone. Letowski’s second of the season came 19 seconds after the Panthers scored.
Florida had allowed just five first-period goals in its opening 13 games, but the Canes struck first just 8:34 in and outshot the Panthers 17-7 in a dominating opening 20 minutes.
Less than 30 seconds into a Zednik tripping penalty, Brind’Amour’s pass from behind the net found Hamilton within blasting range of Tomas Vokoun, who couldn’t control the rebound that was batted home by Cullen.
Carolina actually could have had a few more early, but Stillman hit the post and Eric Staal was stopped on a breakway with less than five minutes left in the period. The 17 shots by Carolina were two off the season high of 19 in the second period at Philadelphia on Oct. 20.
Brind’Amour was pleased the way the Canes stayed all business and didn’t let the talk surrounding Wednesday night’s “diving” penalties interfere with their play.
“You can’t worry about things you can’t control, what the refs are going to call,” the Carolina captain said. “You just have to go out and play. It was a pretty good game all the way around. We could have had a lot more because early on we handled the play pretty well.”
NOTES: Brind’Amour has at least one point in 12 of 14 games. … Whitney saw his five-game goal scoring streak end. … Hamilton and Whitney have now each played 14 games without receiving a penalty. … Carolina has at least 30 shots in 12 games. … Six different Carolina players had at least three shots.
|PPG - Matt Cullen (4) ASST: Jeff Hamilton (7), Rod Brind'Amour (13)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Chad LaRose (3) ASST: Rod Brind'Amour (14), Justin Williams (12)|
2 - 0 CAR
|Jay Bouwmeester (2) ASST: Olli Jokinen (7), Ville Peltonen (4)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Trevor Letowski (2) ASST: Jeff Hamilton (8)|
3 - 1 CAR
|Richard Zednik (6) ASST: Jozef Stumpel (6)|
3 - 2 CAR
|PPG - Cory Stillman (5) ASST: Matt Cullen (11), Ray Whitney (6)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Richard Zednik Tripping against Cory Stillman|
|Glen Wesley Slashing against Olli Jokinen|
|Jay Bouwmeester Hooking against Rod Brind'Amour|
|Glen Wesley Interference against Radek Dvorak|
|Ruslan Salei Slashing against Cory Stillman|
|Nathan Horton Hi-sticking against Glen Wesley|
|SA: 40||TOI: 59:24|
|Saves: 36||EV: 31 - 33|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 7|
|SV%: .900||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 24||TOI: 59:56|
|Saves: 22||EV: 18 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .917||SH: 1 - 1|