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Saturday, April 7th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (35-31-15) at Carolina Hurricanes (39-34-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes close out a disappointing season tonight, when they host the Florida Panthers at the RBC Center in the final game of the season for both teams.

The Hurricanes won the franchise's first Stanley Cup title in 2006, but never really got untracked this year and wound up missing the playoffs. Carolina is the first team since the 1995-96 New Jersey Devils to miss the postseason after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season.

Carolina had a chance to do some damage in a spoiler role Friday evening against Atlanta, but lost 4-1 to help the Thrashers to clinch their first-ever Southeast Division title. Johan Hedberg made 32 saves in the big road win for the Thrashers, who officially clinched the title with Florida's blowout victory over Tampa Bay the same night.

Cam Ward allowed all four goals on 28 shots for the Hurricanes.

Carolina is 20-16-4 at the RBC Center this season and has taken four of its last six home contests.

Meanwhile, the Panthers relished in their spoiler role on Friday as they pounded the Lightning 7-2 to end any hopes Tampa had of winning the division title. Jay Bouwmeester had a goal and one assist, Ville Peltonen added three helpers and Florida used a four-goal first period to crush the Lightning.

Ollie Jokinen scored his 38th goal of the season and also had an assist to continue his domination against the Lightning, as Florida snapped a two-game slide. Jokinen has played all eight games against Tampa Bay this season, totaling four goals and eight assists.

The Panthers' leading scorer, Jokinen needs two points tonight to break the career high of 89 points he set last season. The Finnish centerman has 38 goals and 50 assists this season.

Janis Sprukts and Kamil Kreps each scored their first career NHL goals for the Panthers, who got tallies from seven different players. Ed Belfour finished with 20 saves.

Florida comes into its final game of the season with a 12-19-9 record as the road team.

The Hurricanes are 6-1 against Florida this season and have won seven of the last eight meetings overall. The Panthers are also 0-10-1 (10 losses, 1 tie) in their last 11 trips to Raleigh.

04/07 11:07:14 ET


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