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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers

Friday, March 3, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center, Raleigh, NC

Tickets | Listen LIVE! (7 p.m.)

Hurricanes: 40-14-4 (84 pts.), Southeast Division, 1st place
Panthers: 23-27-8 (54 pts.), Southeast Division, 4th place

Back-to-Back Games
The Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes play host to division rival Florida on Friday at the RBC Center (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network) in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Hurricanes will travel to Pittsburgh following Friday's game to face the Penguins at Mellon Arena on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network).

Carolina has 24 games remaining in its 82-game regular-season schedule, with all games against Eastern Conference opponents. The Hurricanes' 84 points put them three points ahead of Ottawa for first place in the conference through games of March 1, and 16 points ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division. Detroit leads the NHL with 85 points.

Hurricanes Current Streaks

  • Left wing Erik Cole has earned points in each of the last five games (2/5-3/1: 3g, 2a)
  • Left wing Cory Stillman has earned assists and points in each of the last five games (2/5-3/1: 1g, 6a)
  • Center Eric Staal has earned assists and points in each of the last three games (2/10-3/1: 2g, 3a)
  • Left wing Ray Whitney has earned points in each of the last three games (2/10-3/1: 1g, 3a)

Milestone Watch

  • Left wing Cory Stillman is one goal shy of 200 for his NHL career

Television: FSN South
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network ' WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh ' flagship), WYSR 1590 AM (High Point), WMFD 630 AM (Wilmington)

Carolina Notes
The Hurricanes currently post a 40-14-4 record, including a 17-4-0 record in 21 games since Dec. 31. Carolina had its franchise-best nine-game home winning streak (12/13-1/28) snapped against Pittsburgh on Feb. 10. That home winning streak is tied for the longest in the NHL this season (Philadelphia, 10/7-11/12) and the Hurricanes currently post the best home record in the league at 25-5-1 (49 points). With 84 points in their first 58 games, the Hurricanes have enjoyed their best first-58 games in franchise history, eclipsing the 66-point, 58-game mark recorded by the 1986-87 squad.

Hurricanes center Eric Staal scored twice and had an assist on Feb. 10 for his 21st multi-point game and eighth multi-goal game of the season. Through games of March 1, Staal ranked third in the league with 76 points and fifth in the NHL with 36 goals. He has notched points in 43 of the Hurricanes' 58 games this season. Through games of March 1, he ranked tied for eighth in the league with 15 power-play goals and tied for seventh with three shorthanded goals.

With an assist on Carolina's second goal of the game, Captain Rod Brind'Amour earned his 50th point of the season, making him the fifth Hurricanes player this season to eclipse the 50-point mark. The Hurricanes have not had five 50-or-more point scorers since 2000-01 when Jeff O'Neill (67), Ron Francis (65), Sami Kapanen (57), Brind'Amour (56) and Martin Gelinas (52) all topped the 50-points.

The 2005-06 season marks 11th season in franchise history that the team has produced five or more 50-point scorers. The 1983-84 squad holds the franchise record with seven 50-plus point scorers, and five seasons produced six 50-plus point scorers. The Hurricanes did not have a single player eclipse the 50-point mark in 2003-04.

Season (# of 50-pt. scorers) 50-pt scorers (pts.)
1983-84 (7) Johnson (87), Francis (83), Turgeon (72), Neufeld (69), Crawford (61), Malone (54)
1995-96 (6) Shanahan (78), Sanderson (65), Cassels (63), Emerson (58, Nikolishin (51), Kron (50)
1992-93 (6) Sanderson (89), Cassels (86), Verbeek (82), Zalapski (65), Yake (53), Poulin (51)
1986-87 (6) Francis (93), Dineen (79), Anderson (75), Ferraro (59), Evason (59), Lawless (54)
1985-86 (6) Turgeon (79), Ferraro (77), Francis (77), Dineen (68), Gavin (55), Babych (53)
1981-82 (6) Stoughton (91), Sulliman (69), Francis (68), Howe (53), Larouche (50), Howatt (50)
2005-06 (5) Staal, Cole, Stillman, Williams, Brind'Amour
2000-01 (5) O'Neill (67), Francis (65), Kapanen (57), Brind'Amour (56), Gelinas (52)
1989-90 (5) Francis (101), Verbeek (89), Dineen (66), Young (64), Ferraro (54)
1980-81 (5) Rogers (105), Boutette (80), Stoughton (73), Howe (65), Sims (52)
1979-80 (5) Rogers (105), Stoughton (100), Howe (80), Keon (62), Douglas (57)

CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 74-of-388 (19.1%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 260-of-317 (82.0%)

Injury Report

  • Defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, wrist, surgery 2/1, out two months, missed 6 games
  • Center Josef Vasicek, left knee, surgery 12/5, injured reserve, out 3-4 months, missed 43 games

Hurricanes Practice Schedule
March 3 Friday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
March 4 Saturday Mellon Arena 11:30 a.m.
March 5 Sunday none
March 6 Monday Madison Square Garden 11:30 a.m.
March 7 Tuesday SB Flyers Skate Zone 12:00 p.m.
March 8 Wednesday Wachovia Center 11:30 a.m.
March 9 Thursday TBD (Florida)
March 10 Friday BankAtlantic Center 11:30 a.m.
March 11 Saturday BankAtlantic Center 11:30 a.m.
March 12 Sunday none

*All times are local. Times and locations subject to change

Against the Panthers
The Hurricanes and Panthers meet for the fifth time this season. In the team's first two meetings this season, Carolina netminder Martin Gerber scored shutout victories, 2-0 at the RBC Center on Nov. 5, and 1-0 at the BankAtlantic Center on Nov. 11. The Hurricanes scored a 4-3 win at the RBC Center on Dec. 23, and took a 4-3 shootout win at Florida on Jan. 25. The Southeast Division rivals will meet next on March 10 in Sunrise, Fla., the first of back-to-back games between the teams at BankAtlantic Center.

The teams skated to a 2-2-2-0 season series tie in 2003-04. Erik Cole (2g, 4a) and Josef Vasicek (2g, 4a) led the way for Carolina in 2003-04 while Olli Jokinen (1g, 7a) paced the Panthers. The Hurricanes post a 24-19-11-1 all-time record against Florida, including a 15-9-3-0 home mark and an 9-10-8-1 record in South Florida.

Hurricanes vs. Panthers 2005-06 Schedule

  • Nov. 5 RBC Center W, 2-0
  • Nov. 11 BankAtlantic Center W, 1-0
  • Dec. 23 RBC Center W, 4-3
  • Jan. 25 BankAtlantic Center W, 4-3 (SO)
  • March 3 RBC Center 7 p.m.
  • March 10 BankAtlantic Center 7:30 p.m.
  • March 11 BankAtlantic Center 7:30 p.m.
  • March 31 RBC Center 7 p.m.

Nov. 11, 2005
Hurricanes 1, Florida 0

Hurricanes netminder Martin Gerber used his second individual shutout of the season to propel the Hurricanes to a franchise-best ninth consecutive win at Florida's BankAtlantic Center. Gerber stopped all 26 of Florida's shots in the contest to earn the game's third star. Eric Staal scored his 12th goal of the season on a second-period power play and was named the game's first star. Erik Cole set up Staal's goal to extend his assists streak to four games. Cole also became just the second player in NHL history to have penalty shots in two consecutive games when he was awarded a penalty shot in the first period. Ray Whitney earned the second assist on Staal's goal for his 14th point of the season and defenseman Danny Richmond made his NHL debut, skating 7:11.

Nov. 5, 2005
Hurricanes 2, Florida 0

Hurricanes netminder Martin Gerber turned aside each of the Florida Panthers' 27 shots on goal to earn his first individual shutout of 2005-06 and the game's first star. Carolina and Florida skated through two-and-a-half scoreless periods before captain Rod Brind'Amour found the net behind Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo at the 11:29 mark of the third period during a Hurricanes power play. Defenseman Niclas Wallin added an insurance goal with 5:25 remaining in the game when he one-timed Eric Staal's cross-slot pass past Luongo. The assist on Wallin's goal extended Staal's assists streak to three games (10/29-11/5: 2g, 6a) and his points streak to eight games (10/20-11/5: 6g, 12a). Defenseman Aaron Ward was named the game's third star with a stellar defensive effort, including two hits and four blocked shots.

Dec. 23, 2005
Hurricanes 4, Florida 3

The Hurricanes finished off a five-game home stand with a 4-3 win against Florida, making the home stand the best five-game home stand in franchise history by winning all five contests. Matt Cullen scored his 11th goal of the season and earned first-star honors. Eric Staal beat Roberto Luongo on a breakaway and earned the primary assist on Rod Brind'Amour's power-play game-winner to earn second-star honors. Justin Williams found the net in the third period to give him points in 16 of the last 18 games (11/15-12/23: 10g, 14a), including each of the last five games (12/13-12/23: 2g, 6a). Florida was assessed with 17 penalties, resulting in 15 power plays for Carolina, breaking the previous Hurricanes (since 1997-98) mark of 13 power-play opportunities in a game (3 times, last: Dec. 16, 2001 at Pittsburgh). Martin Gerber stopped 22 of 25 shots for his fifth consecutive victory and picked up an assist on Brind'Amour's game-winner.

Jan. 25, 2006
Hurricanes 4, Florida 3 (SO)

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame an early 2-0 deficit to tie the score 2-2 by the end of the first period on goals from Matt Cullen and captain Rod Brind'Amour, and Brind'Amour scored the game-tying goal with 1:04 remaining in regulation as the Hurricanes downed the Florida Panthers 4-3 for a shootout win. Cullen's first-period goal was his 19th of the season, establishing a new career season high for goals for the 28-year-old centerman. Brind'Amour's two power-play goals elevated his power-play goals total to 16 for the season, eclipsing his previous career high. Cullen earned assists on each of Brind'Amour's goals for his second three-point night of the season. Ray Whitney and Erik Cole beat Florida netminder Roberto Luongo, and Carolina goaltender Martin Gerber stopped three of the Panthers' four shooters to help the Hurricanes to their 34th win of the season.

12 Staal
26 Cole
61 Stillman

SV %
29 Gerber
30 Ward

12 Jokinen
16 Horton
25 Nieuwendyk

SV %
1 Luongo
29 McLennan
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