Florida Panthers end skid with win over Carolina Hurricanes
Ellis saves 40 shots but Panthers break through in third for 4-1 victory
Panthers 4, ‘Canes 1
by: Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent
RALEIGH, NC March 19, 2013 – The Florida Panthers broke open a scoreless game with four third-period goals — two on the power play — and goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Tuesday.
Florida’s win halted a six-game winless streak (0-5-1), while Carolina fell to 0-3-1 in its last four.
Hurricanes goaltender Dan Ellis stopped 40 shots in the loss.
With the game scoreless after two periods, the Panthers finally broke the deadlock at 7:39 of the third period. Tomas Kopecky picked off a pass from Hurricanes defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti near the goal line and fed it to Tomas Fleischmann for his sixth goal fo the season.
Florida extended the lead to 2-0 with a 5-on-3 advantage when Marcel Goc redirected Filip Kuba’s pass from the point. Florida took advantage of the remaining 5-on-4 too, with Shawn Matthias cleaning up the rebound of Kuba’s shot from the point.
Jordan Staal broke up Florida’s shutout bid with 2:33 remaining, scoring on the forehand after a rush through the neutral zone. Jerred Smithson added an empty-net goal for the Panthers.
The teams traded scoring chances in the first period, splitting evenly 34 shots. The Hurricanes poured it on early, but the Panthers were quick to clear rebounds and block shots. Midway through the period, Florida answered with a flurry of its own, but Ellis was equal to the task, stopping several close-in chances.
Both defenses tightened up in the second period, with very little action in the offensive zones until Florida forward Scottie Upshall was whistled for a high-sticking double minor. But the Hurricanes — with the 29th-ranked power play — squandered the opportunity, generating just one shot. The best scoring chance came shorthanded when Goc was thwarted on a breakaway by Ellis.
Florida had its own opportunity to break the game open with 1:58 of a 4-on-3 power play. But the Panthers failed to convert, leaving both teams searching for the first goal after 40 minutes.
The Hurricanes played nearly half the period down two defenseman. Justin Faulk left the ice after being checked into the end boards, and Tim Gleason left for medical attention after the high stick from Upshall. Faulk did not return.