« OnFrozenFilm, Traded Panther Edition: Bryan Allen | Main | Tomas Vokoun: Do Panthers Want Me to Stay? Do I Want To? »

You Again? Cory Stillman, Cam Ward lead Hurricanes Past Panthers 2-1 ... FLA Outshoots Canes 42-22 in Loss

HURRICANES 2, PANTHERS 1

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tuesday was a very good to Cory Stillman.

First, Stillman presented with a commemorative silver hockey stick as well as some gifts from old teammates to honor his playing in 1,000 NHL games. Then his son Riley was  honored for leading the Carolina team he captained to a junior championship in Quebec.

The goal and assist Cory Stillman scored against his former team made a memorable day a truly special one.

Stillman, traded from Florida to Carolina last Thursday, showed the Panthers he still had a little left in the tank as he scored the Hurricanes first goal then sent a pretty pass to Eric Staal for the second as Carolina held off the feisty new-look Panthers 2-1 at RBC Center.

The Panthers, who trailed 2-0 going into the first break thanks to Stillman's shot and pass, outshot Carolina 42-22 as they pushed the Hurricanes throughout.

"They work every night,'' Stillman said of the Panthers. “I think they've played 37, 38 one-goal games. They're in the game every night and the longer you leave them hanging, the better they get. We sat on our heels a little in the second and third and played a lot in our own zone.''

The trade of Stillman signaled the start of Florida's sell-off, with Bryan McCabe, Bryan Allen, Radek Dvorak, Dennis Wideman and Chris Higgins also being sent elsewhere.

Allen was traded to Carolina on Monday afternoon and initially thought the Panthers were going to let him travel on a charter flight to Raleigh that had plenty of room thanks to the deals. Allen said he was later denied transit with the Panthers and took a later flight; travel problems in North Carolina meant he didn't get to his hotel in Raleigh until 4:30 a.m. That didn't mean he wasn't ready to face the team he spent five seasons with.

“This is just something I have to fight through,'' Allen said during the first intermission. “I don't think I can put into words what playing them is like. This wasn't easy.''

Neither Stillman nor Allen showed any displeasure nor anger with being traded. And why would they? The Panthers are obviously playing for the future as Carolina is playing for the now. The Hurricanes victory --  their fourth in six tries against Florida this season – helped them solidify their postseason spot.

Florida dropped to 10 points behind Carolina in a race for eighth place that the Panthers are no longer realistically taking part of. General manager Dale Tallon surmised that for the Panthers to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000, they would have to win 15 of their final 20. Make that 15 of 19 after Tuesday's loss.

That doesn't mean the Panthers gave up on Tuesday. Far from it. Stephen Weiss' goal early in the second cut Carolina's lead in half and Florida dictated play for most of the final 40 minutes – including a full-out final minute. Stillman cleared the puck with eight seconds left to end the game.

“We're creating chances, got shots, we played hard. I can't say we would play much different but get a better start and finish some chances,'' coach Pete DeBoer said. “We can't play better than 44 shots. It's not cohesiveness. We just have to score.''

Added goalie Scott Clemmensen: “We played well. The effort was there, can't fault that. The shots just weren't going in. I'm proud of the way we played tonight. We kept coming and fought the entire game. We never gave up. We keep playing like that, we'll be fine.''

The new-look Panthers – which had eight different faces in the lineup since last Monday's demoralizing 5-1 loss to the Islanders – trailed 1-0 after Stillman worked a loose puck past Clemmensen after Darcy Hordichuk had taken out Erik Cole on a rush.

Florida had a prime chance to tie the score midway through when Kenndal McArdle's hard shot from the left side seemed to surprise Ward. The Canes goalie left a juicy rebound and an empty net for the hard-charging Michal Repik to deposit the puck into. Instead, Repik wound up a bit too much and blasted the puck high into the air and into the mesh netting protecting those in the end zone seats.

Carolina made it 2-0 a few minutes after Repik's blastoff as Stillman slipped a perfect pass to a waiting Eric Staal on Carolina's only power play chance of the period. Staal barely moved his stick to redirect the pass past Clemmensen.

NEWS, NOTES

Stillman played in his 1,000th NHL game as a member of the Panthers on Feb. 16. Stillman was scheduled to be honored by the team before last Sunday's game against the Devils but he had already been traded. Weiss, one of Florida's two alternate captains (Allen and Stillman had been), presented Stillman with a silver stick commemorating the achievement after Florida's morning skate.

Weiss and his teammates also gave Stillman a gift certificate to a resort as well as a John Deere Gator riding cart for his summer cottage. A video tribute produced by the Panthers played on the RBC Center big screen prior to the game's start.

“He's a pretty special guy,'' Weiss said. “I learned a lot in the three years I played with him.''

-- DeBoer said Tuesday that it was unlikely forward Byron Bitz would play for the team this season because of complications following sports hernia surgery performed months ago. Bitz came to the Panthers on March 3, 2010, and played in seven games before missing the end of the season with an elbow injury. Bitz was diagnosed with a groin strain in training camp but eventually had hernia surgery.

“We have 20 games left and he hasn't been on the ice as far as I know,'' DeBoer said. “I don't think I'm out of line saying I don't think we're going to see him this year – unless something miraculous happens.''

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

It's too bad that our spunky little band of AHL'ers have to face NHL goalies. Geldie and Billy toeing the company line was reminiscent of Soviet state radio in the old days. You quickly realize who's paying their salaries. The icing on the cake was when Commissar Yormark came on to assure everyone that the Panthers would spend every cent that they're required to spend (i.e. The Minimum) next season. This will no doubt guarantee another bunch of over-the-hill golfers skating in sand in October.

yo "oliver TT" keep your clueless comments to yourself.... the fact yu wasted yur time to write a comment that no body givves one of your T's about shows yu have nothing better to do than rip on a team that hardly needs any more criticism

Oliver is right, Kevin is clueless, this management is the main problem and Yormark is a freaking joke. Same old panthers, banking on kids to turn things around. You can only sell potential for so long.....

Brilliant retort (look it up) Kevin. Hopefully you're not typical of the level of student that the schools of South Florida are producing.

I have to laugh everytime Yormark tries to explain something

First before the lock out he guaranteed that there would be hockey that season

next he guaranteed a playoff spot wrong again

he cuts spending on scouting and development and uses a model of scouting by video where you don't learn the character of the person since then bad drafts year in and year out, bad trades and bad free agent signings

this year he states that the panthers have their highest percentage of capacity, geeze think it might have to do with putting tarps on the upper deck lowering capacity?

Now he says that the panthers will spend to the minimum requirement with the permission of Cliff Viner, gee you ever hear of the collective bargaining agreement that requires you to spend to the minimum 30 million dollars

this statement shows that this was as much about dumping salary as it was about getting better.

Mr. Yormark the panthers will not be much better next year, have you seen the list of free agents? Not very good.

Have you seen the reports of this year's draft, not very deep

Time to bring in more ahl players or players that come here to get one last contract before retiring.

Mr. Yormark you are a good businessman but running a sports franchise is different as it becomes more of the community. If you don't want to put a good product on the ice and the goal is to make money, there is nothing wrong with that, just be honest about it like the owners of the LA Clippers did and the owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates did.

Yo Kevin- so, you think it's cool that Yarmuck plans to spend money in the offseason, just enough to reach the league minimum?

You're probably the kid who says to his parents, "Look mom, I did great in this class, I actually got a D-."

Bitz is hasn't played a regular season game this season and will be an RFA this Summer. Is there any way the Panthers can get another contract year out of him without having to negotiate? Or is he just another damaged goods acquisition like Bertuzzi (back) and Kilger (don'wannabehereitis)?

The Panthers won't tender an offer to Bitz. He was a salary dump by the Bruins, who has actually produced less than expected, if that's possible.

Ownership needs to keep Yormark away from the media. He's a marketing maven (he's made chicken salad in endorsements out of the chicken s#*t product on the ice for years), but every time he opens his mouth, all you can do is groan & say "oy vey".

Dear Kevin,

There's this thing called the 'o' key. You should check it out some time.

Sincerely,
infinity symbol guy who never got his draft shirt when olli was traded. raaaaage.

I still have that shirt...somewhere...

Just watching the Devils-Lightning game and the New Jersey announcers calling the Wideman trade for a 3rd rounder and an ECHL player the blunder of the draft.This trade plus Frolik and Allen were ALL salary dumps mandated by real owner Alan Cohen and enforced by his mouthpiece Mr snake oil salesmen Yormark.Stupid and naive kids only ones fooled by this.Tallon and Santos just collecting checks under the master plan blueprint.Should be renamed WalMart print where the salaries are lower everyday.Gudbransen was not signed this year because that would have cost Cohen another 790,000/year.Vinik is a token owner.Just what is the % that Cohen and his family still own??

The comments to this entry are closed.