Panthers end Hurricanes’ winning streak at 7

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Carolina Hurricanes’ unexpected winning streak came to an end at Florida on Saturday night.

Michael Frolik and Kamil Kreps scored

in a 1:11 span of the first period, Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves and the

Florida Panthers beat Carolina 4-1 to snap the Hurricanes’ winning

streak at seven games.

Cory Stillman scored late in the

third period, and Kreps added an empty-net goal to help Florida win its

second straight game after a seven-game losing streak.

Justin Peters made 26 saves while

suffering his first career loss following three straight wins. Jussi

Jokinen scored his 25th goal for Carolina.

“Giving up two goals early in the

game was really a big test for me to mentally stay with it,” Peters

said. “I was able to stay strong and give the team a chance.”

Frolik scored his 16th goal with 6:02

left in the first period. Dmitry Kulikov’s pass toward the crease

deflected of Carolina’s Joni Pitkanen and Frolik quickly put the puck

into the net.

Kreps made it 2-0 when he took a pass

from Nick Tarnasky in the slot and fired the puck between Peters’ legs.

Tarnasky grabbed the puck after Carolina’s Alexandre Picard failed to

clear from near the left side boards.

Florida’s first-period goals came

after Tarnasky and Carolina’s Jay Harrison fought 1:15 into the game.

Three nights earlier, Florida’s Gregory Campbell and Tarnasky were

involved in fights just five seconds in during a 7-4 win against

Philadelphia.

Coincidence or not, Tarnasky might have set the tone against Carolina.

“It was one of our best first periods of the year because we were so physically involved,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said.

Carolina pulled to 2-1 on Jokinen’s goal at 7:58 of the third.

“When we made it 2-1, I figured it

was just a matter of breaks and bounces around the net at that point

(before we tied it),” Hurricanes coach Jason Karmanos said.

After Vokoun stopped Brandon

Sutter’s shot from the right circle, the goalie went to his knees and

reached for the puck just as Jokinen hit the puck. The puck popped up

and over Vokoun and into the net.

“It’s not about shutouts, it’s about

winning games,” said Vokoun, who is tied for the league-high with seven

shutouts this season.

Stillman scored his 12th goal when he wristed a shot from the slot past Peters.

The Hurricanes failed to score during a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:42 of the second period.

“That was the big difference – we played great in penalty killing,” Frolik said.

Carolina won its last five games

before the Olympic break, before winning 5-1 at Toronto on Tuesday

night and beating Ottawa 4-1 on Thursday night.

NOTES: Carolina G Cam Ward (back) is

listed day-to-day. He has missed eight games. … It was the sixth and

final meeting for the teams, with each winning its three home games.

… Florida will begin a three-game trip (Minnesota, Colorado, San

Jose) on Tuesday night. … Carolina continues its three-game trip at

Atlanta on Sunday and Washington on Wednesday night. … Florida has

499 franchise victories.

Updated March 6, 2010


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