Panthers 5, Hurricanes 3
Jokinen scored two goals and Florida beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 Friday night, the Panthers’ first victory in six meetings this season.
“We haven’t been able to get shots and second chances against this team,” Jokinen said. “We did the little things right tonight.”
Jokinen, who signed a four-year, $21 million extension on Thursday, stretched Carolina’s lead to 4-2 with his 31st goal of the season with 1:29 remaining.
“It’s been pretty tough the past two weeks, with everyone asking questions about what’s going to happen and not knowing about the future,” said Jokinen, who was mentioned in several trade rumors. “Now it’s time to focus.”
Brind’Amour brought the Hurricanes back to within a goal with 41 seconds left.
Carolina, which outscored Florida 15-8 in winning the teams’ first five meetings, was seeking to set a franchise record for wins (44) in a season.
“I like to think we’re a little bit embarrassed the way we played tonight,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette. “We got what we deserved.”
The Panthers got a boost early in the second period when they killed a 5-on-3 for 1:40.
“We got some big saves,” Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. “Sometimes those situations can be a momentum change.”
Jokinen’s first goal of the game gave Florida a 3-1 lead at 9:11 of the second. Jokinen picked up a loose puck in the middle of the Carolina zone, skated into the left circle and sent a slap shot past Gerber to the high stick side.
Just 1:05 later, Williams wristed a shot past Luongo to the short side for his 22nd goal that pulled Carolina within 3-2.
Wallin opened the scoring with his fourth goal, on a slap shot from above the right circle 59 seconds into the game.
Gelinas’ 14th goal, on a rebound off Jokinen’s shot, tied it at 11:07 of the first. Gratton finished a 2-on-1 break with his 15th goal to gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 16:15.
Florida took 21 shots in the first period.
“We were lousy tonight,” Laviolette said. “It could have been our worst period of the year. The entire 20 minutes was unacceptable.”
Right wing Mark Recchi played his first game for the Hurricanes after being acquired from Pittsburgh shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline. Recchi played mostly on a line with Ray Whitney and center Matt Cullen.
“I was excited to get out there,” Recchi said, “although obviously, the results aren’t what you would like for a first game.”
The teams play here again Saturday night. It’s the first time in the Panthers’ 13-year history they’ll play the same opponent on consecutive nights. … Carolina D Mike Commodore (upper body injury) was a late scratch. … Florida D Lukas Krajicek (sick) did not dress. … Gratton also received a contract extension (two years) on Thursday.