Florida at Carolina

Hurricanes rally in third for 13th straight home win over Cats

CBSSports.com wire reports

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes trailed by two goals in the third period and were skating without their injured inspirational leader. That's a formula for big trouble, except that whenever they play the Florida Panthers on home ice, they always seem to find a way to win.

Ray Whitney's goal with 4:21 left helped the Hurricanes rally past Florida, 5-4 on Saturday night, to extend their home winning streak against the Panthers to 13 games.

"It says that we're not giving up," Whitney said. "We're continuing to work, regardless of our lineup, regardless of who's in or out, regardless of the situation. ... When you play hard and put pucks to the net, good things are going to bounce your way."

Wade Brookbank, Sergei Samsonov, Eric Staal and Trevor Letowski scored for the Hurricanes, who were playing their first full game since captain Rod Brind'Amour tore a ligament in his left knee, an injury that almost certainly will end his season.

In his absence, Whitney came up big. He took a backhand pass from defenseman Joe Corvo and wristed the puck past Tomas Vokoun to complete Carolina's comeback.

"I was kind of planning to get the puck into the inside, because you can make more things happen on the inside," Corvo said. "I don't normally like to throw a backhand pass across like that, but if it's there ..."

Nathan Horton scored two goals, one on a penalty shot, for Florida. Rostislav Olesz and Brett McLean also scored and Stephen Weiss added two assists for the Panthers, who haven't won in Raleigh since Dec. 6, 2002. The Hurricanes improved to 14-0-0 with one tie since then.

The Panthers suffered yet another crushing defeat at the RBC Center, which seemingly has become their house of horrors. Last January, Florida blew a three-goal lead by allowing six third-period goals and lost 6-4. Then, in the season finale, Carolina scored the final four goals in the third period and overtime of its 5-4 victory.

"It's unbelievable," Vokoun said. "I don't think words can describe it. It just shows you our lack of commitment to defense. Many times it didn't cost us but today it cost us dearly. We basically had the game and gave it to them. There is no secret to it."

Carolina won its third straight and fourth in five games to open up a two-point lead in the Southeast Division, and denied coach Jacques Martin his 100th victory with the Panthers.

The Hurricanes began their comeback midway through the third by scoring two goals in 2 minutes.

"We just kept fighting," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Resilient, I guess, is the word. ... We had the edge in skating and just couldn't seem to get ahead tonight until the end. That's when it matters most."

First, Staal quickly recovered from a hit that knocked him to the ice, sprung back up, somehow found the puck, then wristed it past Vokoun to make it 4-3. The Hurricanes tied it when Andrew Ladd sent a cross-ice pass to Tim Conboy, and he ricocheted the puck off Letowski with about 12½ minutes left.

Horton broke a 2-2 tie -- and chased Cam Ward in the process -- by beating him with a snap shot from the left circle late in the second period. Then, after he was dragged down on a breakaway by Matt Cullen early in the third, he beat John Grahame with a high wrist shot on the ensuing penalty shot to make it a two-goal game.

"We got up 4-2, and they rallied after Nathan scored," defenseman Bryan Allen said. "We just didn't prepare ourselves for it and realize that you have to do the simple things to protect the middle and keep the puck out of your house."

Ward, making his 13th straight start, stopped 10 shots but allowed three goals. Grahame relieved him and also made 10 saves. Vokoun turned away 27 shots for the Panthers.

Both teams scored goals on redirections midway through the second. Weiss fired a wrist shot that deflected off Olesz and squirted through Ward's legs, and about 1½ minutes later, Letowski's centering pass bounced off Samsonov's right shoulder and sailed into the net.

"You look at all their goals -- a tip, a shot from the point right to the guy at the front of the net that tipped it, and then a guy with a missed assignment on the back check," Martin said.


  • Martin is 99-99 in his third season coaching Florida.
  • Ladd finished with two assists and extended his points streak to five.
  • Corvo and D Tim Gleason returned for Carolina after missing one game with the flu.
  • The game was the second half of a two-sport doubleheader at the RBC Center. Workers reconfigured the arena from men's basketball to hockey in 75 minutes after Clemson beat North Carolina State 71-64.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Carolina's Wade Brookbank (28) gets congratulated by teammates for his first-period goal.  (AP)
Carolina's Wade Brookbank (28) gets congratulated by teammates for his first-period goal. (AP)
Florida (27-28-6)1214
Carolina  (30-27-4) «1135
Three Stars
R. Whitney

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
E. Staal

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
S. Samsonov

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
03:21Wade Brookbank (1), Backhand Shot. Assist: Matt Cullen
06:44Brett McLean (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Ville Peltonen, Olli Jokinen
08:08Power Play - Rostislav Olesz (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stephen Weiss, Jay Bouwmeester
09:49Sergei Samsonov (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Trevor Letowski, Andrew Ladd
13:23Nathan Horton (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Stephen Weiss
04:11Nathan Horton (20), Penalty Shot, Unassisted.
05:35Eric Staal (29), Slap Shot. Assist: Erik Cole
07:38Trevor Letowski (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Tim Conboy, Andrew Ladd
15:39Ray Whitney (23), Wrist Shot. Assist: Joe Corvo, Eric Staal
Penalty Summary
14:41Wallin, 2 min, High-Sticking
17:27Ladd, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
18:59Salei, 2 min, High-Sticking
03:50Bouwmeester, 2 min, Tripping
07:36Corvo, 2 min, Boarding
14:17Jokinen, 2 min, Holding
01:56Brine, 2 min, Interference
02:07Staal, 2 min, Hooking
06:13Gleason, 10 min, Misconduct
19:45McLean, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
Tomas Vokoun59:13275
John Grahame26:37101
Cam Ward33:23103
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 17737
Referees - Kelly Sutherland, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Lonnie Cameron, Jonny Murray
Other Games
StL 1 Final
Nash 2
Bos 3 Final
Tor 4
Edm 2 Final
Van 4
Phi 0 Final
Mon 1
NJ 3 Final
Ott 2
Buf 1 Final
Wash 3 Final
TB 2
Atl 1 Final
LA 3 Final
Pho 4