NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Florida
(Friday, March 10th)
Final Score: Florida 5, Carolina 3
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Olli Jokinen celebrated his new contract extension with a two goal, one assist performance, as the Florida Panthers blew past the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3, at BankAtlantic Center.
Martin Gelinas and Jozef Stumpel each added a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who beat the Hurricanes for the first time this season (1-4-1).
Roberto Luongo made 24 saves in the win while Chris Gratton also lit the lamp as Florida has now answered a three-game losing streak with two straight wins.
Justin Williams and Rod Brind'Amour both scored for Carolina, which has now lost two straight after a five-game winning streak. The Hurricanes lost 3-2 in a shootout against Philadelphia on Wednesday to start their skid.
Martin Gerber stopped 34-of-38 shots faced in the loss.
The game featured the debut of forward Mark Recchi, who Carolina acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. Recchi will help to alleviate the loss of forward Erik Cole, who is out for at least the remainder of the regular season with a fractured vertebra in his neck. He was kept off the scoreboard in the loss.
The Panthers, meanwhile, were expected to possibly be sellers at the trade deadline, but instead locked up two of their star players. Florida inked Jokinen to a four-year contract extension while also extending Gratton for two years.
The transactions looked good on Friday, as both players factored into Florida's first two goals.
Midway through the first, Jokinen sent a shot on net from the right side that hit off of Gerber's pad and back into the slot. Gelinas was there, and the forward put home the rebound from the left slot at 11:07 of the first to tie the contest at 1-1.
The Panthers then took a 2-1 edge later in the opening frame. During a 2-on-1 rush, Juraj Kolnik slid a pass to Gratton, who was darting up the left side. Gratton took the pass and shot the puck over a sliding Gerber's right pad with 3:45 left in the opening frame.
Carolina had grabbed a quick 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the game on Niclas Wallin's fourth goal of the season, a shot through traffic from the point that beat Luongo.
Jokinen extended Florida to a 3-1 lead at 9:11 of the second after his shot from the left circle sailed over Gerber's glove and in. It was Jokinen's 30th tally of the season.
Williams' made it a one-goal game again after his 22nd goal of the year. The forward stole a clearing attempt along the left wall and quickly skated into the circle before wristing a shot over Luongo's shoulder.
Jokinen, however, netted his second goal of the contest with 1:29 remaining in the third to restore Florida's two-goal edge.
Brind'Amour's 25th goal of the season made things interesting after the veteran center put home a loose puck from the slot with 40.8 ticks left and Gerber on the bench.
However, Stumpel added an empty-net tally with 12 seconds left.
Doug Weight added two assists in Carolina's loss...Jokinen's assist was his 38th of the season...The Hurricanes finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Panthers ended 0-for-2...Stumpel has three goals and five assists in his last four games while Gelinas has tallied a goal in three straight contests...Williams has three goals in his last three games, while Ray Whitney had a seven-game point streak come to a halt for the Hurricanes.
03/10 22:24:44 ET