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A lackluster performance derailed the Carolina Hurricanes' momentum, but they're expecting improved results against a struggling rival.
The Hurricanes look to bounce back against the last-place Florida Panthers on Monday in a Southeast Division matchup at the BankAtlantic Center.
Carolina (12-7-2) had its season-high three-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 5-2 loss to Nashville in the finale of a four-game homestand. In addition to spoiling the Hurricanes' bid for a perfect homestand, the loss prevented them from claiming the Southeast lead.
Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist, but the Hurricanes couldn't recover from a four-goal deficit.
"We know better than to think we can just show up and win a game," Cullen, who snapped a personal seven-game drought without a point, told the Hurricanes' official Web site. "It's frustrating because we've been building something pretty positive. To have it turn out like it did is really frustrating. We've got to turn the page right now."
Cullen and the Hurricanes won't have to wait too long to rebound from the defeat as they'll play back-to-back contests for the fourth time this season. To bounce back, they may need to improve a power play that squandered eight opportunities Sunday including a 5-on-3 that lasted nearly two minutes. They've also given up at least one goal on the penalty kill in each of their last seven games.
"(There) are pieces of our game where we need to be better," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "I feel like we've yet to put together an attack on the net, on the body and on the puck that you need to in order to be successful."
Carolina has been successful in its last few visits to Florida (7-11-1), winning five of seven there since December 2006. At home, the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Panthers 6-4 on Oct. 10 in the season opener for both teams.
Florida, last in the NHL with 15 points, returns to the BankAtlantic Center after playing eight of its last 10 games on the road. The Panthers dropped the final two contests of their just-completed three-game trip, including Friday's 4-2 loss at Eastern Conference-leading Boston.
David Booth and Ville Peltonen scored for the Panthers, who have scored a league-low 44 goals.
Florida's frustrated front office sent a message to its players over the weekend, placing winger Wade Belak on waivers Saturday after making Rostislav Olesz a healthy scratch in Boston.
It's unclear if any other moves will be made before Monday's game.
"The status quo isn't good enough," coach Peter DeBoer told the Panthers' official Web site. "It's not good enough where we're sitting and there's going to be consequences throughout the lineup because of that."
Defenseman Bryan McCabe has been among the few bright spots for Florida. He assisted on both goals Friday, giving him three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak.