For the Florida Panthers, it was a night with a very different roster, but a night with a very similar result. With the goaltender pulled, the Panthers threw the kitchen sink at the Carolina Hurricanes, but couldn’t find the tying goal in a 2-1 loss Tuesday night, in Carolina.
As has been the case so many times this season, Florida dominated long stretches of play without being able to finish. Rookie Michal Repik had many chances, including a glorious opportunity in front of an open net, which he shot over the crossbar.
Carolina started the scoring in the first period, burning the Panthers with a familiar face. Erik Cole threw a backhand pass out in front of the net, while he was being ridden down, and former Panther Cory Stillman deflected the puck in with his skate. After a short review, the goal was deemed legal.
The Hurricanes made it 2-0 later in the first period on the power play, and again Stillman was in on the action. Stillman faked a slap shot from the right wing boards, but passed it to Eric Staal instead, faking out the entire Panthers team. Staal was left with an open net tap in goal, his 28th of the season.
Florida was able to cut the deficit in half–3:58 into the second period–when David Booth took the puck behind the net and centered it to Stephen Weiss. Weiss’ initial shot was blocked, but his second shot found a space between Cam Ward’s left leg and the post. That was Ward’s only blemish, and he finished the game with 41 saves.
The victory kept the Hurricanes in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, still just two points up on the Buffalo Sabres, who beat the New York Rangers Tuesday night.
The Panthers return to action on Thursday night, at home against the Montreal Canadiens.