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Panthers Wrap-Up: Hurricanes 3, Panthers 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 0 0 1
Hurricanes 1 1 1 0 3
FLA - T. Fleischmann (23)
CAR - E. Staal (22), J. Pitkanen (4), PP - E. Staal (23)
RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Joni Pitkanen had a goal and an assist in his first game in three months, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat Florida 3-1 Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Eric Staal had his second straight two-goal game - giving him a team-leading 23 - to help the Hurricanes win their season-best fourth straight and earn points for the 14th time in 17 home games.

"That was not our expectations to try to play a loose game. Areas that have been strengths for us, board play, special teams were an issue. The intensity and will to win was certainly higher on their side…They’re desperately looking for points right now."

- Head coach Kevin Dineen to the Sun-Sentinel.
1. Turnover Leads To Quick Goal: It didn't take long for the home team to give the crowd something to cheer for. Less than a minute in to be exact. With the puck behind the Panthers net, Eric Staal stole the puck away and put the puck out front. The puck hit a Panther player and went in past Jose Theodore who was making the start once again. The goal came with 46 seconds off the clock. Playing on back-to-back nights, a slow start might be expected, especially after being outshot 36-13 and spending a lot of the time in their own zone but to give up a goal less than a minute in is definitely a shot.

2. Highly Contest Second: While the Hurricanes offense really came to play in the opening period and were rewarded with the early goal, the best period, if you wanted to see shots at least, came in the middle stanza. The two teams combined for 31 shots on goal. The visitors recorded 17 of those and were rewarded with their only goal of the game. Unfortunately (not just because it was the only one) it came as an answer to Carolina's second goal of the game. The Canes took a two goal lead as Joni Pitkanen blasted a shot top shelf on Theodore with 10:55 gone in the frame. Florida would get their goal 1:38 later when Ed Jovanovski sent a shot on Cam Ward. The puck found its way to Tomas Fleischmann and the forward sent the shot past Ward with a nice backhand along the ice. It was his team leading 23rd of the season.

3. Strong Goaltending Effort Not Enough To Extend Streak: The Panthers goaltending has been superb over their five-game win streak and six-game point streak. In fact, over the six game span, Florida had allowed two or less goals in those games. Theodore was on once again as he made save after save. His best might have come right before Pitkanen made it a two-goal advantage. With Carolina on the penalty kill, Brandon Sutter went in on a rush and then tried to score on a wrap-around after his first shot was turned aside. Theodore stopped the puck just before it looked to cross the goal line. The play went to Toronto but the call was upheld. No goal. On Pitkanen's shot, very few could have stopped that blast while Staal made it a 3-1 advantage in the third on a power play snipe from in close. Theodore turned aside 36 shots but it wasn't enough as Ward stood tall on the other end and the Panthers win streak came to an end. Florida (85 points) couldn't take advantage of the game in hand over an idle Washington but still remain five points up on the second place Capitals.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@mancphoenix: Damn #FlaPanthers lost 3-1 to #Canes that snaps the 5 game winning streak we had.

@dubrunn: thats what i get for skipping church... #divinecurse #needthose2pts #FlaPanthers

@srgrossman: 1) I hate losing, especially to my hometown team 2) I just watched Goon and LOOOVED it and 3) I really **** hate losing #FlaPanthers

@_janellechase: Full moon tonight? Its strange to see the @FlaPanthers lose.

@dBdaSportsGuru: Just move onto the next one against Edmonton @FlaPanthers . Back at home to get that W! #GoCats #weseered

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Christina Colon: Tears of sadness run down my face, I wish we could have won tonight. :(

Matt Jagielski: goodnight evryone. I loved the benches clearing stare down at the end. Use that energy on friday. Lets get a win on my birthday. I will be in attendance. Believe red!!

Jeff Main: Tough game, Carolina took it to us. Still holding first place fellow fans. Lets look to the next game!

Tyler Current: too bad the streak ended

Adam Cohen: Hey guys, tough loss, but nobody wins forever and back to back games are never easy.


1. Falling by a 3-1 final, it was the first loss for the Panthers to the Hurricanes this season. The Panthers had won the first four, although Carolina had registered two points in an overtime and shootout loss (1-2-2).

5-6. The loss to the Hurricanes ended a season long five-game winning streak and six game point streak for the Southeast Division leading Panthers. Florida has a chance to earn a franchise best six-game winning streak on home ice with a win Friday.

9. It was a chippy affair in Raleigh as the Panthers and Hurricanes combined for nine power plays and 15 minors. Carolina had the better success, going 1-for-4 on the night and their power play goal in the third gave them a 3-1 advantage. Florida on the other hand went 0-for-5.

23. Trailing by two, the Panthers got on the board thanks to Tomas Fleischmann. The forward tallied his 23rd of the season 12:33 into the second period on a backhand, tying his pervious high set in the 2009-10 season. Four of those goals have come against the Hurricanes.

98. One day after teams exchanged goals 91 seconds apart in the second period, Carolina and Florida exchanged goals 98 seconds apart in the middle stanza. Joni Pitkanen scored to make it a 2-0 game 10:55 in while Fleischmann answered at the 12:33 mark.

Eric Staal
The Canes captain led by example in scoring 46 seconds in and then cementing the game with a power play goal in the third. Led all Carolina skaters in ice time which is impressive since that stat usually goes to the defensemen.

 2 Goals, 2 Points, +1, 7 Shots, 23:20 TOI
After a two games in two nights, the Panthers will get a one day reprieve. Then they'll be back home for two games. First up is the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Facing the Western Conference team for the only time this season, Edmonton comes into Florida for game three of a four game road trip. After opening up with a 6-3 victory in Nashville on Tuesday, the Oilers will play in Tampa Bay on Thursday night. Edmonton is led by a bunch of young guns. Third year forward Jordan Eberle leads the way (70 points in 69 games) while second year forward Taylor Hall is second on the team in points (53 in 61 games) and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has posted a good first year in the league (45 points in 53 games). In goal, the tandem of Devan Dubnyk (40 games played) and Nikolai Khabibulin (38 games played) have split the starts. Dubnyk has a 17-17-2 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average while Khabibulin has a 12-19-6 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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