NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 5th (All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (6-6-0) at Florida Panthers (4-6-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes turned in their best offensive effort of the season in their last trip to the ice and will try to continue the scoring surge tonight, when they visit the Florida Panthers for a Southeast Division battle at BankAtlantic Center.
Tonight's test marks the start of a home-and-home series between these clubs, who split six encounters last season. Florida has won three straight and five of the last six meetings in Sunrise.
Carolina will host the Panthers tomorrow night in the finale of this set.
The Hurricanes routed the visiting New York Islanders, 7-2, on Wednesday night to end a two-game slide. It was the most goals scored in a game by Carolina since Paul Maurice's club beat the San Jose Sharks, 5-2, on Oct. 19.
Carolina will also aim to post consecutive victories tonight for the first time since opening the season with a two-game sweep of Minnesota in Helsinki, Finland.
Jon Matsumoto scored twice in the blowout victory on Wednesday and Cam Ward stopped 31 shots en route to the easy win.
"I don't think my role is to score goals so tonight was a cherry on top," said Matsumoto. "As long as I'm not a liability out there and I win my battles I feel like I'm doing my job."
Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Joe Corvo, Jiri Tlusty and Jeff Skinner also tallied for Carolina, which is 4-4-0 as the visiting team this year.
Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday's win and he is expected to miss tonight's game.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four games and were dealt a close regulation loss by visiting Atlanta on Wednesday. Dustin Byfuglien and Niclas Bergfors scored 1:11 apart in the third period to lift the Thrashers to the 4-3 victory.
Jason Garrison, Steven Reinprecht and Bryan Allen each tallied for the Panthers, while Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 23 shots.
"I feel horrible," Vokoun said. "I gave up two bad goals."
Garrison is not expected to play in tonight after suffering a groin injury on Wednesday.
Florida has lost two of its last three home tests and is 2-2-0 as the host this year.
11/05 11:09:32 ET