RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina wasted little time jumping on injury-riddled Florida as Jussi Jokinen scored two of three goals for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes in a span of 3:05 in the first period of a 6-2 victory Saturday night.
Jokinen, who had just four points this season, added an assist on Riley Nash's first career goal early in the second period. Nash also had a three-point night with assists on both of Jokinen's goals.
Already without injured defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Mike Weaver and right winger Kris Versteeg, the Panthers got more bad news just 2:22 in when goalie Jose Theodore went down with what appeared to be a right leg or groin injury after making the first save of the game against Jokinen. Then, early in the second period, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov caught a rut and fell awkwardly to the ice, injuring a wrist or hand.
Theodore was helped from the ice in obvious pain and replaced by Scott Clemmensen, who was immediately peppered by a Carolina offense that had previously struggled in the first period through 19 games, registering just eight goals and leading once after the opening 20 minutes.
Jokinen scored on a wrist shot four minutes after Clemmensen entered and added his fourth goal of the season midway through the first period after some sloppy defense by the Panthers as the Canes took a 11-2 shot advantage.
Jiri Tlusty remained hot, scoring his 10th goal in the past 11 games to briefly tie Eric Staal for the team lead. Tlusty, wide open in the slot, notched his goal a little more than two minutes after Jokinen gave the Canes a 1-0 lead. Jokinen took a pass from Alexander Semin and cleanly beating Clemmensen.
Staal scored in the second and third periods to give him 12 goals this season to regain the team lead. Semin added three assists.
Shawn Matthias and Filip Kuba had Florida's goals, each coming in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first and second period.
NOTES: This was the 500th regular season game for the Canes at PNC Arena. ... Nash, playing in his 12th career game, registered his first multi-point game. He also hit the post early in the second period. ... Joni Pitkanen returned after missing the last seven games with a lower body injury but left after the first period and did not return. The Carolina defenseman was a plus-8 in 14 games before missing two weeks. ... Ed Jovanovski hasn't dressed for Florida's defensive corps since Jan. 29, missing his 15th straight game with a knee injury. ... Versteeg skated Saturday morning in Raleigh but didn't dress for the Panthers, missing his eighth game with a lower body injury. ... Only four other goaltenders (Roy, Brodeur, Kolzig and Hasek) have played more career games against Carolina than Theodore's 40. ... The Panthers used both Theodore and Clemmensen for the third straight game.