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Ward's saves, Brind'Amour goals lead Canes over Panthers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Rod Brind'Amour barely had a chance to celebrate his second goal of the game before it was waved off.

Officials ruled he intentionally kicked the puck into the net, and even though Brind'Amour knew that call was wrong, he wasn't confident replay would change it.

"You just never know when it goes up to the booth," he said. "I've seen too many goals disallowed that I thought were sure goals."

This time, replay got it right.

A quick video review gave Brind'Amour credit for that goal, and the Carolina Hurricanes fought off a two-man disadvantage down the stretch to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Saturday night.

Cam Ward stopped 27 shots a night after the Atlanta Thrashers beat him for two goals in 24 shots during a 3-0 victory. That was Carolina's second consecutive loss, and with three days off after this one, Brind'Amour and his teammates didn't want to go into the break with another.

"The way this sport is, you're happy if you win, and if you lose, you're miserable," Brind'Amour said. "We had a little more jump tonight. The guys stepped it up."

The Panthers lost for the sixth time in eight games.

With Carolina leading 1-0, Brind'Amour took a pass from Mike Commodore as he raced toward the goal. He fought off a couple of defenders and somehow got the puck past goalie Tomas Vokoun. The call from the replay official gave Brind'Amour his second two-goal outing in five games. He has a team-leading 26 points.

"What amazes me is the winning goal, the goal official waved it off, that they reversed his call," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said.

Florida got to 2-1 at 13:59 of the third period on Nathan Horton's seventh goal of the season. His deflected shot caught Ward leaning to his left, and the puck squirted under his stick for a power-play goal.

"It was a freak bounce, my fault there," Ward said.

Minutes later, the Panthers had a wonderful opportunity to tie it, with nearly 90 seconds of a two-man advantage following penalties to Brind'Amour and Glen Wesley, stalwarts of the penalty-killing unit. High-scoring forward Eric Staal was among those who stepped in to fill the void, and the Hurricanes held on.

"We did play pretty hard, but you don't get any points for that," Vokoun said. "We didn't score, had a huge change at the end there. Those are the deciding moments."

Brind'Amour's first goal came midway through the first period on the power play when he and Cory Stillman worked a beautiful give-and-go near the left circle. It was Stillman's first point in three games; he earlier had a streak of eight games with at least one point.

"I think we played the game with a purpose," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We still could get better on certain things, but certainly, a good team effort under the circumstances."

A brief but entertaining fight late in the second period sent Horton and Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason to the penalty box. Gleason landed a couple of punches, then lifted Horton in the air before slamming him to the ice.

Game notes
Wesley became the 10th NHL defenseman to play in 1,400 games. He made his debut in 1987 with the Boston Bruins. The Panthers continue a three-game road trip Monday night in Washington.