RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Cory Stillman scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 6-4 on Thursday night.
Chad LaRose, Erik Cole, Scott Walker, Craig Adams and Ray Whitney also scored for the Hurricanes, who trailed 3-0 after two periods before scoring their first five goals in about a 10-minute span of the third.
Whitney's goal was an empty-netter in the final seconds which closed a six-goal third period - the first time they've had five or more goals in the third since scoring five on Oct. 28, 2005, against Philadelphia.
Olli Jokinen scored two goals and Juraj Kolnik and Stephen Weiss
added one goal apiece for the Panthers in what seemed like an easy victory but melted down into just another empty trip to Raleigh - where they haven't won since Dec. 6, 2002.
Cam Ward stopped 28 shots in two periods, and was benched after allowing three goals in the second. John Grahame finished the game and stopped six shots.
The Hurricanes won after trailing by three goals for the first time since Nov. 5. 1998, when the New York Islanders blew a 3-0 lead and lost to Carolina 6-3.
Alex Auld stopped 21 shots but gave up five goals for Florida.
Down 3-0 after two periods, LaRose started the comeback when he flipped the puck past Auld from the right circle. Cole made it a one-goal game 1 minute, 26 seconds later with a wrister and Walker tied it at 3-3 with a wraparound goal between Auld's legs.
Then came Stillman's game-winner on the power play. He took a pass from Andrew Hutchinson as he maneuvered into the slot and beat Auld with a wrist shot with 10:25 to play.
The Panthers seemed to have taken control during a dominant second period in which they outshot the Hurricanes 19-8 and scored their first two goals in a span of 50 seconds.
First, Kolnik made it 1-0 when he positioned himself near the goal mouth, muscled a rebound past Ward off the left post with 8:01 left. Then, Ville Peltonen came up the left side and passed to Jokinen, who skated inside the left circle and beat Ward high with a wrist shot at 7:11.
Notes: Whitney wore an "A" on his sweater after alternate captain Kevyn Adams was traded earlier in the week to Phoenix. ... Hurricanes D Glen Wesley (lower-body injury) missed his third straight game. ... Florida fell to 1-8 when playing the second of back-to-back games and has an Eastern Conference-worst five road victories. ... The Hurricanes have scored one first-period goal in their last six games.
Goldie's Post-game recap:
A nice dream game turned into a nightmare for the Panthers in Carolina. The Cats were in full control after 2 periods leading 3-0 on goals by Jurai Kolnik, Olli Jokinen and Stephen Weiss
. But Carolina dominated the 3rd period scoring 6 goals to win the game 6-4. It was an embarassing 9 minute stretch in the 3rd that cost the Panthers the game. Carolina outworked and out executed the Cats during that time, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 lead. The Panthers need to learn how to win. They need to be able to finish games off when they have the lead in the 3rd period as they have in each of their last 3 road games. No time to cry over spilled milk as Florida is back home Saturday taking on Washington. 60 minutes of hockey will be needed to win. The players need to look at themselves and figure out how to play with the lead and finish teams off when they have the chance. Tonight, it was all Panthers for 40 minutes and then the roof caved in.
Goldie's 2nd intermission report:
The best 20 minutes the Panthers have played this year. They scored 3 times and lead the Hurricanes here in Raleigh 3-0 after 2 periods. The Cats were playing well, controlling the game and started scoring in the blink of an eye. The line of Jurai Kolnik, Stephen Weiss
and David Booth scored twice. First it was kolnik with his 5th of the year. 50 seconds later Ville Peltonen fed Olli Jokinen for his 20th of the year. Less than 4 monutes after the 2nd goal, Weiss scored to make it 3 goals in 5:34. The Panthers fired 19 shots on goal in the period and are finally being rewarded on the scoreboard for another super road effort. The Cats are sitting pretty to win for the first time here in Carolina since 2002.
Goldie's 1st intermission report:
Scoreless opening period here in Carolina. Great chance for the Panthers 40 seconds into the game. Chris Gratton got free for a breakaway but Cam Ward made the stop. The Cats continued the offensive pressure outshooting the Hurricanes 9-3 midway through the period. Both teams had a power play in the opening 10 minutes. What is evident early is the Panthers' intensity. Good jump out of the box. Carolina is 15-0 when it scores first this season so a good start is key against the 'Canes. Carolina had a goal disallowed, a shot that looked like it went in the net. A big break for the Cats.
Goldie's pre-game blog:
Nothing could be finer than to beat up on Carolina...for the Panthers. The Cats are here in Raleigh feeling good about their game. A 6-2-3 stretch has put Florida on the edge of the playoff race. A win tonight would be huge in the standings and do wonders for the team's confidence. It won't be easy as the Panthers have a quick turnaround after beating Pittsburgh at home last night. The Hurricanes have been sitting home waiting for the Panthers. Don't look now but the Panthers are just 4 points out of a playoff spot.
If Florida brings the same effort as the last 3 games a win is a strong possibility. The Panthers picked up road points in Calgary and Vancouver and then came home for Sidney Crobsy and the Penguins. A funny thing happened though...Olli Jokinen stole the show from Sid the Kid. A hat trick, the 3rd of his career and 2nd of the season, paced the Panthers to a 5-2 win. Jozef Stumpel, Martin Gelinas and Rostslav Olesz had big nights as well and that line continues to do its job. Perhaps the biggest factor in the line-up the past few weeks has been the play of Bryan Allen on defense. A big part of the Luongo trade in June, Allen is playing great hockey. He's a physical presence and is playing a smart game. Paired with Jay Bouwmeester the duo played 25 and 28 minutes last night. The Panthers knew they were getting more than Todd Bertuzzi and Alex Auld in the deal. On a down note, Branislav Mezei left last night with an injury and won't play here in Carolina. All signs are pointing up for a team that has found its game. A win tonight would put others on notice in the Eastern conference.
In a bit of a suprise, Alex Auld will play goal again tonight. It's the first time this year either Auld or Belfour get both starts on back to back nights. The thought is getting Auld on a roll after last night's strong game against the Penguins.
to read a game preview from NHL.com.