RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Trailing by two goals against a sharp goalie, the
Carolina Hurricanes kept firing shots and crashing the net.
Unlike much of the season, that was enough for a comeback win.
Josef Vasicek scored the go-ahead goal with 11:51 left in the Hurricanes'
3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Rod Brind'Amour and Kevyn Adams also scored for the Hurricanes, who rallied
for just their third win in 27 games when trailing going into the third period.
Craig Adams added two assists.
Carolina, eliminated from postseason contention Tuesday, has earned 26
points in its last 20 games.
``That game was typical of how the whole year has gone,'' said Brind'Amour,
who scored his 10th of the season.
``The only difference is we scored when we needed to. You can count a number
of games _ especially early in the season _ where we outplayed teams and
outshot them and didn't get the goals we needed. Tonight we did.''
Nathan Horton and Niklas Hagman scored for the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo
made 42 saves, giving him an NHL-record 2,219 on the season. That broke the
mark of 2,214 set by Toronto's Felix Potvin in 1996-97.
Luongo got little help from the defense in front of him. Carolina outshot
Florida 45-21 and put relentless pressure on Luongo in the final 30 minutes.
The 24-year-old stopped Carolina's first 29 shots before allowing Kevyn Adams'
goal with 10:29 in the second period.
``It was nice to see that we kept fighting and kept our foot on the gas ...
and eventually some started to go in,'' Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.
Luongo has faced 95 shots in the last two games, including a 4-3 overtime
loss to New Jersey on Tuesday.
``He's a true competitor,'' Florida coach John Torchetti said. ``Until we
turn it around, that's the bottom line, he's going to get beat until the end,
the bitter end.''
After tying it early in the third, the Hurricanes went ahead when Vasicek
flipped a shot from the faceoff circle. The puck went by Luongo, who was
screened by Carolina's Craig Adams.
``You need to throw a lot of shots at him,'' Adams said. ``He's such a great
goalie, if he sees it he's probably going to stop it. You're not going to score
on too many first shots, so we had to get there for rebounds and get screens.
That's something we talked about before the game.''
Horton scored 3:11 into the game for Florida, and the Panthers increased
their lead when Hagman scored from between the faceoff circles at 5:35 of the
second period. But the Hurricanes kept pressuring Luongo, taking a 24-8 edge in
shots in the second.
Carolina finally broke through on its 30th shot. Luongo had trouble
corralling a shot by Bret Hedican, and Radim Vrbata smacked the puck into the
right post. Kevyn Adams beat Luongo to the loose puck in the crease.
Then, early in the second, Luongo stopped a shot by Craig Adams and a
rebound attempt by Ryan Bayda. But Luongo never controlled the puck, falling
backward as Brind'Amour finally scored in a crowd around the net to tie it at
1:43 of the third.
It epitomized the pressure Luongo was under all night.
``They took about seven whacks at it,'' Luongo said. ``It's hard to cover
the puck when there's a guy right in the crease whacking at it every few