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Florida Panthers Can't Do it Again: Carolina 3, Panthers 2 ... Hordichuk, Frolik Match Staal (2), Not Enough


RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Panthers and Hurricanes played twice this weekend. One game couldn't have been more different than the other.

On Friday, the Panthers scored seven goals off 50 shots in a wild shootout win in Sunrise. On Saturday night, it was the Hurricanes turn to do some offensive damage as captain Eric Staal scored twice and Carolina continued its dominance over the Panthers at RBC Center with a 3-2 victory.

Since the Hurricanes moved into this arena in 1999, they have won a staggering 25 of 32 against the Panthers.

“They always play good in this building,'' David Booth lamented. “They're a fast team and showed that [Saturday]. On the other hand, we weren't good enough. If we would have played the game we played [Friday], I think we would have been alright.''

The Panthers made franchise history by taking 105 shots in their previous two games. Not only did Florida take at least 50 shots in successive games for the first time, but their combined total was the most in the NHL since the New York Rangers had 107 in their Stanley Cup season of 1994.

Those who hoped for more offensive fireworks from the Panthers on Saturday were left disappointed. The Panthers were most definitely off as they spent most of the game playing defense on their end. Florida had just four shots in the opening period and five in the second as Cam Ward didn't have to do much in his second straight night in net.

The Panthers first goal came when enforcer Darcy Hordichuk pulled in a loose puck off a shot off the board from Mike Weaver and buried it. That came a minute after rookie Jeff Skinner, Carolina's first round pick last June, scored 2:21 into the third period to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead. Florida trailed 3-1 late, and with an empty net behind him, Michael Frolik scored with 42.2 seconds left to give the Panthers life. Alas, it wasn't to be as Florida ended with just 20 shots.

Coach Pete DeBoer decided to give Scott Clemmensen just his second start of the season on Saturday after Clemmensen came on in relief of starter Tomas Vokoun early in Friday's game. Clemmensen gave up two goals on Friday and kept the Panthers in the game throughout. After a scoreless first period, Carolina made it 1-0 on Staal's first goal – that coming when Carolina held a two-man advantage as Hordichuk and Mike Santorelli shared a bench in the penalty box.

“Give Carolina credit: They turned the tables on us,'' DeBoer said. “They obviously weren't happy with their game coming out of our building and they fixed some things. That said, it was a winnable game. We didn't win enough battles through the first two periods but because of our goaltender and our penalty kill, we were only down 1-0 on the road. That's not a bad position. .-.-. It was the deserved result, though. They were the more desperate team and fixed what was wrong with their game in Florida.''

The Panthers killed off a 5-on-3 situation Friday but couldn't do it two nights straight as Staal scored with 16 seconds left in the first penalty. The Florida penalty kill was 7-for-7 on Friday and 5-for-6 on Saturday.

“We were in it for the most part, we were right there,'' said Clemmensen, who made 26 saves. “This is nothing to hang our head about, although it's always disappointing not to get the win.''


Winger Cory Stillman injured a shoulder on his second shift of Friday night's game and didn't make the trip to North Carolina. DeBoer said Stillman was looked at in South Florida on Saturday and that the shoulder wouldn't need surgery. Stillman is still expected to miss up to a month.

The Panthers didn't call anyone up from their AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., however, opting to play Darcy Hordichuk. The Panthers are expected to make a move this week, however.

“There's no dislocation, just a rotator cuff,'' DeBoer said. “When he fell, he braced himself.''