|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
Rod Brind’Amour has been at the center of every Carolina win this season.
The captain is the only player to score at least one point in each of the Hurricanes’ 12 wins, getting goals in the first and third periods Saturday night as Carolina snapped a two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The key Southeast Division victory came 24 hours after the Canes suffered a 3-0 shutout loss against Atlanta at the RBC Center, and three days after a 6-1 road defeat at Tampa Bay.
“This is the sixth game in nine nights, and I’m not making any excuses because that’s the way the schedule was dealt for us, but I thought it showed a lot of grit by our players to come back,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “Especially the way the last two games went because we didn’t get the results we were looking for against our division, and we’re trying to catch Ottawa and things weren’t happening. So, the best way to (rebound) is to come to the rink and do a little bit of extra work in the game itself. I think we did that. The guys worked hard tonight.”
Carolina put together a solid second period with more than a half dozen good scoring chances, but couldn’t get the puck past Tomas Vokoun and went into the third clinging to a 1-0 lead.
But Brind’Amour poked the puck between Vokoun’s legs 2:44 into the final period to give Carolina some breathing room. Brind’Amour’s 10th of the season was initially waved off by referee Tom Kowal, but after a short review it counted.
“I didn’t kick the puck, I was just trying to put it down, it just happened to go in off me,” Brind’Amour said of his controversial game winner. “He told me I kicked it and that’s what was frustrating. I’m not going to kick a puck from the slot. Whoever reviewed it saw the same thing I saw.”
It was Brind’Amour’s first game-winner of the season and 61st of his career.
While the NHL’s top scoring team wasn’t totally out of its mini scoring slump, Carolina did outchance the Panthers badly in this one and appear to be back on its offensive game, recording 33 shots.
Florida made it interesting with a power-play goal with 6:01 left to ruin Cam Ward’s shutout bid and also had a two-man advantage for 1:24 less than two minutes later. But Carolina’s much improved penalty kill over the last three weeks came through in the clutch to hold off the Panthers' comeback bid.
With Brind’Amour and Glen Wesley in the box (both of whom would have been on the ice for the two-man disadvantage) Laviolette went with Eric Staal as the lone forward and credited his all-star with some key deflections.
“It wasn’t pretty sitting in there,” said Wesley. “There is Roddy and I talking to each other and I said, ‘What are we doing in here?’ We had kind of a chuckle in there, but fortunately we got a huge kill, got some great saves from Cam and came out with the huge win.
“It felt good because we haven’t done well 5-on-3 and we knew it was going to be a long one. But our penalty kill has turned itself around and we’re back on track,” added Wesley, who played in his 1,400th game. “We know out routes and what we’re supposed to be doing out there and we’re doing a lot better job of making good decisions.”
Ray Whitney had a few chances, including hitting the post with 13:15 in a period that was punctuated with a fight between Tim Gleason and Florida’s Nathan Horton. The Carolina crowd got a rise out of the short altercation when Gleason body slammed Florida’s second-leading scorer to the ice.
The Panthers had allowed just 10 first-period goals in 20 games before the Canes struck first Saturday night, converting just 10 seconds into their first power play midway through the period. Brind’Amour scored the goal on a quick wrist shot after taking a centering pass from Cory Stillman.
Ward stopped 11 first-period shots with his best save coming with 1:01 left in the period, poking the puck away from Stephen Weiss a second before the Florida center could tip it home.
NOTES: Wesley became the 26th player in NHL history to log as many as 1,400 games. … Niclas Wallin returned after missing seven games following shoulder surgery. … Florida hasn’t beaten Carolina at the RBC Center since December 2002 – a span of 14 games. … Staal played in his 193rd consecutive game, setting a Carolina record. The franchise mark is Dave Tippett with 419. … The Hurricanes allowed just their second power-play goal in their last eight games.
|PPG - Rod Brind'Amour (9) ASST: Cory Stillman (14), Jeff Hamilton (9)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Rod Brind'Amour (10) ASST: Mike Commodore (4), Justin Williams (15)|
2 - 0 CAR
|PPG - Nathan Horton (7) ASST: Olli Jokinen (12), Stephen Weiss (11)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Richard Zednik Hooking against Jeff Hamilton|
|Bryan Allen Tripping against Craig Adams|
|Andrew Ladd Tripping against David Booth|
|Glen Wesley Hooking against David Booth|
|Tim Gleason Fighting against Nathan Horton|
|Nathan Horton Fighting against Tim Gleason|
|Matt Cullen Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Rod Brind'Amour Hooking against Stephen Weiss|
|Glen Wesley Tripping against Nathan Horton|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:42|
|Saves: 31||EV: 27 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .939||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 28||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 27||EV: 20 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 6|
|SV%: .964||SH: 2 - 2|