NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Florida
(Wednesday, January 25th)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Erik Cole scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to lead the Carolina Hurricanes past the Florida Panthers, 4-3, at the BankAtlantic Center.
Rod Brind'Amour netted two goals and Matt Cullen had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, who have won two straight and 11 of their last 12 games.
Martin Gerber made 32 saves and stopped three of four skaters in the shootout to lead Carolina, which has defeated Florida in all four matchups this season.
Jozef Stumpel, Mike Van Ryn and Nathan Horton scored goals for the Panthers, who have dropped four of their last five contests. Roberto Luongo stopped 24 shots in the loss for Florida.
Carolina trailed 3-2 from halfway through the second to almost the end of the game. But Brind'Amour tied the game with 1:04 to play to force overtime.
Gerber forced the shootout by making several nice saves in the extra five minutes. He made a glove save on an Olli Jokinen wrister with a little over two minutes left and stopped a Jokinen backhander with six minutes remaining.
Ray Whitney put Carolina ahead on the first shootout attempt with a wrister over Luongo's left shoulder. But, Jokinen tied it with a wrist shot over Gerber's right shoulder on Florida's first chance.
Luongo stopped Cullen and Brind'Amour and Gerber stopped Horton and Joe Nieuwendyk to force a sudden-death shootout.
Cole came in on net, faked to the backhand, went back to the forehand and tapped the puck past Luongo's outstretched right pad to give the Hurricanes the lead. Martin Gelinas had a chance to tie it, but Gerber made a pad save on his wrist shot.
The Panthers jumped on the scoreboard early in the match. Stumpel fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle that went into the left corner of the net just 47 seconds into the contest.
During a scrum in front of the net, Van Ryn poked the puck in from the right side to make it a 2-0 Florida lead with 7:26 left in the first period.
However, the Hurricanes scored twice to make it a 2-2 game going into the first intermission.
Cullen snapped a wrister from the left circle that beat Luongo over his glove just 19 seconds after the Van Ryn goal. While on the power play, Oleg Tverdovsky fired a shot from the right circle that Luongo made a blocker save on, but the rebound went out front and Brind'Amour poked the disc in with 1:57 left.
"We get a two-goal lead, y'know and they come back and score right away," said Jokinen. "The first ten minutes we play really good hockey then we were a little bit sloppy and they came back and in my mind we gave them two points and y'know it's kind of frustrating."
Florida netted the only goal of the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Horton got the puck high in the slot from Nieuwendyk, skated past a Carolina player and snapped a wrister from the right circle that went through Gerber's five-hole halfway through the period.
Brind'Amour tied the game with 1:04 left in the third with his second marker of the contest. Eric Staal snapped a shot from the right circle that Luongo saved. But he could not corral the rebound and Brind'Amour grabbed it on the right side and snapped it over the goaltender's left shoulder to knot the game.
"I don't think we feel like we're ever out of a game," said Cole. "We have the confidence and the character guys that can get things done when the game is on the line and it's been a different guy every time."
Carolina will visit Atlanta on Thursday...The Panthers' four-game homestand continues on Friday against New Jersey...Cullen has a five-game point streak, with four goals and three assists during the run...Florida is 10-16 in one- goal games this season...Carolina improved to 4-1 in shootouts, while the Panthers dropped to 1-3.
01/26 00:38:37 ET