Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hurricanes Storm Past Panthers

     The Florida Panthers started a three-game homestand and fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Tuesday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers have lost 11 of their last 14 games.
     Reto Berra made his first NHL start in goal since December 2015. It was his first starting assignment with Florida since being called up from Springfield in the AHL and his second appearance this year.    
     Florida(31-30-11) struck first at 1:35 of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead. Jaromir Jagr had the puck on the right wing and passed up to Jason Demers on the right point. His slap shot was deflected in by Aleksander Barkov from the slot area past Cam Ward for his 20th goal of the season.
     Carolina(31-27-13) reacted and tied it up 1-1 on the power play at the 5:09 mark. Sebastian Aho made a slap pass from the right circle which was redirected wide left of the net by Jordan Staal. It bounced off the end wall to Teuvo Teravainen and he roofed a wrist shot by Berra from the low left circle.
     The Panthers regained the lead 2-1 midway through the frame at 11:51. Vincent Trocheck was at the top of the zone and connected an outlet pass to Jussi Jokinen in the left circle. He made a cross-ice pass to Reilly Smith in the crease and he scored his 12th goal of the campaign from close range.
     The Cats got to their second power play and gave up a shorthanded goal with 5:26 left in the first. Aaron Ekblad lost the puck to Elias Lindholm at the Canes blue line and he skated up the right wing. He stopped at the top right circle, fed a pass across to Aho who was racing through the slot and he softly put in a snap shot from the low slot.   
     Both clubs scored in the first two minutes of the second period. Florida took their third lead of the contest at 1:14. Keith Yandle received a pass from Demers on the left wing. His centering pass went off a Carolina defender and into the cage.
     The Hurricanes matched it and tied the game 3-3 just 27 seconds later. Lee Stempniak skated through the slot and placed a shot on net. Jeff Skinner followed up and scored on the rebound with a backhand shot for his 27th tally of the season.
     Skinner would get his second goal of the game with 3:55 remaining in the third period. Derek Ryan brought the puck down the left side and to the low left circle. He backhanded a pass in front and Skinner put it in on a one-time shot.

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