Hurricanes fall to Panthers 6-3
By SARAH LARIMER, Associated Press Writer
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The only good news for the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night was that they would soon be back on home ice.
Rostislav Olesz and Radek Dvorak scored goals in a 37-second span early in the third period and the Florida Panthers earned a 6-3 win over the Hurricanes in the first game of a home-and-home series. The teams play in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday night.
Friday’s game was a familiar scenario for the Hurricanes, who have only one win on the road this season.
Jordan Leopold, Bryan McCabe and Keith Ballard scored in the second period for Florida, which earned its fourth win in five games.
Dominic Moore added a short-handed goal in the third for the Panthers. Florida’s Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves.
“Just want to keep rolling here,” McCabe said. “We’ve got three games before the (Christmas) break and looking to get another big win tomorrow and keep this thing going.”
Patrick Dwyer, Scott Walker and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes.
“I don’t think that we go into the games mentally thinking about that,” Walker said of Carolina’s road record. “I think we just go in and try and play our game, play our system, we’ve been playing a lot better lately, but we obviously didn’t get the job done tonight.”
Cam Ward stopped 21 of 26 shots for the Hurricanes before he was replaced by Manny Legace in the third period. Legace faced two shots, allowing one goal.
Olesz scored at 4:10 of the third to make it 4-1. Dvorak’s wrist shot at 4:47 chased Ward and put the Panthers up 5-1. Moore beat Legace with a backhand at 7:57 in the third for his sixth goal of the season, which stretched Florida’s lead to 6-1.
Carolina added goals from Walker at 8:19 of the third and Staal at 10:21, but it wasn’t enough.
“We had a hard time doing a lot of basic things, moving the puck,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. “They were just better than we were tonight at the end of the day.”
The Panthers went up 2-1 on McCabe’s goal at 9:25 of the second period. Ballard then made it 3-1 when he scored on a slap shot from above the right circle at 11:05 of the second.
Dwyer opened the scoring at 5:27 of the second period. He beat Vokoun with a wrist shot from the high slot. Florida answered about a minute later, when Leopold scored on a slap shot from above the left circle to tie the game at 1-1 at 6:29 of the second.
“As banged up as we are, Carolina is even more banged up, so I think we’re catching a wounded animal but to our credit we found a way to get the two points, which is the critical part,” Florida coach Pete DeBoer said.
NOTES: Florida C Kamil Kreps (upper-body injury) was a scratch. Kreps collided with Florida’s bench door during Wednesday night’s game. … Panthers D Bryan Allen also sat out Friday’s game. DeBoer said Allen got the night off so he could rest his surgically repaired knee.