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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers


Friday, March 31, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center * Raleigh, NC

Listen LIVE! ( Friday, 7 p.m.)

Hurricanes: 47-19-6 (100 pts.), Southeast Division, 1st place
Panthers: 33-30-9 (75 pts.), Southeast Division, 4th place

Tonight's Game

The Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes continue a four-game home stand on Friday against the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). After playing nine of 10 games on the road from March 4 to March 22, the Hurricanes returned to the RBC Center on Saturday and suffered a 3-1 loss to division rival Washington, but rebounded with a 2-1 win against Tampa Bay on Monday. The Capitals returned on Wednesday and took a 5-1 victory from the RBC Center. Carolina will travel to Atlanta following Friday's game for a Saturday evening meeting with the Thrashers at Philips Arena.

The win on Monday guaranteed the Hurricanes a spot in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Carolina has 10 games remaining in its 82-game regular-season schedule, with all games against Eastern Conference opponents. The Hurricanes' 100 points put them three points behind Ottawa for first place in the conference and 19 points ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division through games of March 29.

Hurricanes Current Streaks

  • Right wing Mark Recchi has earned points in each of the last two games (3/27-3/29: 1g, 1a)

Milestone Watch

  • The Carolina Hurricanes eclipsed the previous franchise records for wins in a season (43), home wins in a season (27) and points in a season (93) with their 44th win (27th home win) of 2005-06 on March 14 against the New York Rangers
  • Captain Rod Brind'Amour notched his 100th goal with the Hurricanes on March 25 against the Washington Capitals
  • Defenseman Glen Wesley played in his 1,300th NHL game on March 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Left wing Cory Stillman earned his 500th NHL point with a goal on March 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Right wing Justin Williams is one point shy of 200 NHL points

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 47-19-6 record, including a 24-9-2 record in 35 games since Dec. 31, and an 8-5-2 record since the Olympic Break. 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 have the best home record in the league at 28-7-1 (57 points). With 100 points in their first 72 games, the Hurricanes now look to improve upon their newly-set franchise record for points in a season. The previous franchise-high for points in a season was 93, set by the 1986-87 squad.

Hurricanes center Eric Staal had points seven straight games (3/10-3/22: 3g, 6a) and leads the Hurricanes with 91 points (42g, 49a). Through games of March 29, Staal ranked fourth in the league with 91 points and tied for fifth in the NHL with 42 goals. He has notched points in 52 of the Hurricanes' 72 games this season. Through games of March 29, he ranked tied for seventh in the league with 18 power-play goals and tied for 14th with three shorthanded goals.

CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 86-of-475 (18.1%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 320-of-389 (82.4%)

Injury Report

  • Left wing Andrew Ladd, lower body, day-to-day, missed 1 game
  • Defenseman Bret Hedican, lower body, day-to-day, missed 3 games
  • Defenseman Niclas Wallin, lower body, day-to-day, missed 3 games
  • Forward Doug Weight, lower body, day to day, missed 3 games
  • Left wing Erik Cole, fractured vertebra 3/4, out 6-8 weeks, missed 11 games
  • Defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, wrist, surgery 2/1, out two months, missed 19 games
  • Center Josef Vasicek, left knee, surgery 12/5, injured reserve, out 3-4 months, missed 56 games

Hurricanes Practice Schedule

April 1 - Philips Arena - 7:00 p.m.
April 2 Sunday RecZone 12:00 p.m.
April 3 Monday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
April 4 Tuesday RBC Center 11:00 a.m.
April 5 Wednesday Verizon Center 11:30 a.m.

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

Against the Panthers

The Hurricanes and Panthers meet for the eighth and final time this season on Friday at the RBC Center. 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, took a 4-3 shootout win at Florida on Jan. 25 and scored a 5-2 win at the RBC Center on March 1. Florida took both ends of the teams' back-to-back set on March 10 and 11 at BankAtlantic Center, scoring a 5-3 win on March 10 and a 4-3 overtime win on March 11.

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 25-20-12-1 all-time record against Florida, including a 16-9-3-0 home mark and an 9-11-9-1 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 W, 5-2
March 10 BankAtlantic Center L, 5-3
March 11 BankAtlantic Center OT, 4-3 (OT)
March 31 RBC Center 7 p.m.

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.

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.

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.

March 3, 2006 Hurricanes 5, Florida 2
The Carolina Hurricanes tied their franchise's record by recording their 26th home win of 2005-06, downing the Florida Panthers 5-2 at the RBC Center. Erik Cole scored twice in the contest for his third multi-goal game of the season and was named second star of the game. Center Eric Staal recorded his ninth multi-goal game and 22nd multi-point game by scoring Carolina's first goal, and adding an empty-net goal to help seal the victory. Left wing Cory Stillman recorded his ninth multi-assist game of the season. Goaltender Martin Gerber was named the game's first star with 37 saves, helping him to his 29th win of the season. Craig Adams banged home a cross-crease pass from linemate Kevyn Adams early in the third period, the goal that was the eventual game-winner. Defenseman Bret Hedican earned two assists in the game and finished the contest with a plus-2 rating.

March 10, 2006 Florida 5, Hurricanes 3
Despite the Hurricanes' best efforts in the closing minute, including an extra-attacker goal by Captain Rod Brind'Amour Carolina suffered its first loss of the season in six meetings against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. The game marked the Hurricanes debut of right wing Mark Recchi and the first multi-assist and multi-point game by center Doug Weight with Carolina. Niclas Wallin scored Carolina's first goal, just 59 seconds into the contest, and winger Justin Williams notched an unassisted goal in the second period, but the Panthers used two first-period goals, a second-period goal and two third-period goals (including an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining) to secure the win. Martin Gerber stopped 34 of 38 shots he faced n the game as Carolina was outshot for the fifth consecutive game.

March 11, 2006 Florida 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)
Carolina suffered an overtime loss when Joel Kwiatkowski redirected a Rostislav Olesz cross-crease past behind Carolina netminder Martin Gerber. The Hurricanes carried a 2-1 lead into the third period before Kevyn Adams used his 13th goal of the season to give Carolina a two-goal edge 1:09 into the final frame. But Florida's Jon Sim struck just 35 seconds later to return the Hurricanes' lead to one goal. Jozef Stumpel knotted the game 3-3 with his 11th marker this year at the 5:15 mark and eventually force overtime. Center Doug Weight scored Carolina's first goal of the game, his first since the Jan. 30 trade that brought him to the Hurricanes. Center Matt Cullen notched his 21st goal of the year, his first since Jan. 26.

12 Staal
11 Williams
61 Stillman
26 Brind'Amour

SV %
29 Gerber
30 Ward

12 Jokinen
15 Stumpel
16 Horton

SV %
1 Luongo
29 McLennan
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