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NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Florida



(Saturday, December 23rd)

Final Score: Carolina 3, Florida 2 (OT)

Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Erik Cole scored a power-play goal 1:59 into overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes came back to beat the Florida Panthers, 3-2, at BankAtlantic Center.

With Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester off for tripping in the extra period, the Hurricanes had the puck in the offensive zone for most of the power play. The game ended when Cory Stillman fed a nice pass from the point over to Scott Walker, who one timed it from the top of the left circle. Ed Belfour made the initial save, but the rebound came out to Cole, who redirected the puck into the open net for the game winner.

"(Cory Stillman) found a great seam over to Walks (Scott Walker) and Walks hammered one and it just came off right at me and I just reacted," said Cole. "I just tried to stop it but it (the rebound) came off so hard that it just bounced right off my stick and in."

Ray Whitney contributed with a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who have won four straight games. Rod Brind'Amour also tallied for Carolina, which will play the Panthers in the second game of the home-and-home set on Tuesday night.

Goaltender John Grahame stopped 34-of-36 shots, including all 12 shots he faced in the third period.

Olli Jokinen had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who had their three- game winning streak snapped. Belfour made 14 saves on 17 Carolina shots.

They're a team that doesn't quit," Panthers forward Chris Gratton said. "That's why they won the Stanley Cup. They fought right to the end. But, it's an unfortunate call in overtime. It's our job to go out and kill it but they did a good job of just working for their goal in overtime. It was a hard fought game for both teams and it could have gone either way."

The Panthers started quickly in the first stanza as Jokinen beat Grahame just 24 second into the frame on a slap shot that handcuffed the Carolina netminder and gave Florida the early 1-0 advantage.

After both teams had chances to score, the Panthers lit the lamp 5:36 into the opening period when Jokinen set up Gary Roberts, who beat Grahame with a wrist shot and increased the Panthers lead to 2-0.

Carolina got a goal back midway through the period when Brind'Amour fed a nice pass to Whitney, who ripped a slap shot passed Belfour from the middle of the left circle to cut the Hurricanes' deficit to 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

The score remained the same until late in the second period. With both teams skating at even strength, the Hurricanes knotted the game at 2-2. Whitney got the puck to Justin Williams, who took a shot that went wide of the goal. Williams, though, wouldn't be denied as he reclaimed the disc and took a wrist shot that got past Belfour to tie the contest.

Game Notes

Glen Wesley played in his 800th game with the Carolina/Hartford Whalers organization...Whitney played in his 800th career NHL contest...Hurricanes center Erik Staal appeared in his 200th career game...The Panthers were 0- for-6 on the power play, while Carolina was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

12/24 00:18:40 ET


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