As Christmas approaches, the Florida Panthers are on a bit of a roll -- and they want to keep going
Rostislav Olesz and Radek Dvorak scored goals in a 37-second span early in the third period Friday night as the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 in the first game of a home-and-home series. The teams play again at the RBCCenter in Raleigh on Saturday night.
Jordan Leopold, Bryan McCabe and Keith Ballard scored in the second period for Florida, which earned its fourth win in five games. Dominic Moore added a shorthanded goal in the third period for the Panthers, and Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves.
"Just want to keep rolling here," McCabe said. "We've got three games before the break and looking to get another big win tomorrow and keep this thing going."
Walker denied that the Hurricanes' road woes have gotten into their heads.
"I don't think that we go into the games mentally thinking about that," he said. "I think we just go in and try and play our game, play our system, we've been playing a lot better lately, but we obviously didn't get the job done tonight."
Cam Ward stopped 21 of 26 shots for the Hurricanes before he was replaced by Manny Legace in the third period. Legace faced two shots, allowing one goal.
It was a 3-1 game before Olesz scored at 4:10 of the third. Dvorak's wrist shot at 4:47 chased Ward and put the Panthers up 5-1. Moore beat Legace with a backhand on a breakaway at 7:57 for his sixth goal of the season to make it 6-1.
Goals by Walker at 8:19 and Staal at 10:21 made the score look better but didn't affect the outcome.
"We had a hard time doing a lot of basic things, moving the puck," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "They were just better than we were tonight at the end of the day."
Dwyer opened the scoring at 5:27 of the second period when he beat Vokoun with a wrist shot from the high slot. Florida tied it when Leopold beat Ward with a slap shot from above the left circle at 6:29. The Panthers went up 2-1 on McCabe's goal at 9:25 of the second period. Ballard made it 3-1 when he scored on a slap shot from above the right circle at 11:05.
"As banged up as we are, Carolina is even more banged up, so I think we're catching a wounded animal but to our credit we found a way to get the two points, which is the critical part," Florida coach Pete DeBoer said.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report