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Florida Panthers 1, Carolina Hurricanes 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The Carolina Hurricanes' solid play in the opening period didn't go to waste for a change.

Sean Hill and Pavel Brendl scored first-period goals to lead the Hurricanes over the Florida Panthers 3-1 Monday night.

``There's been a lot of games where we've come out and dominated the first period and we'll walk away 1-0 down, 2-0 down,'' Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. ``It was nice to get some rewards for the work.''

Kevin Weekes stopped 20 shots and Rod Brind'Amour had an empty-net goal for Carolina, which won its first home game since Jan. 8.

With goaltender Roberto Luongo on the bench, Juraj Kolnik scored with 49.3 seconds left for Florida, losers of two in a row.

Hill scored on the power play at 4:33 of the first period when he sent a low slap shot from the left point past Luongo after taking a pass from Marty Murray. It was Hill's seventh goal of the season.

``We knew we needed definitely a better start,'' Hill said. ``In New Jersey there was a lack of intensity and tonight we came with more intensity, more fire in our game and it paid off for us.''

The Hurricanes went up 2-0 at 14:17 when Brendl scored his fifth of the season on a breakaway. Carolina failed to score on a five-on-three power play in the second when Eric Beaudoin and Mike Green were each called for penalties at 12:41.

In the third period, Florida took three more penalties and were unable to mount much offense until Hill was called for tripping with under four minutes left.

Carolina was 1-for-8 on the power play and Florida went 0-for-6.

``Our power play didn't get us anything tonight,'' Florida forward Olli Jokinen said. ``We got a lot of power plays. We had one at the end of the first period. Then we started the second period with one and the third period, too. We had chances to come back.''

Luongo settled down after a shaky first period and finished with 20 saves.

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