Series (Game 3 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Friday, October 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 4th
Game 3: Friday, December 18th
Game 4: Saturday, December 19th
Game 5: Tuesday, February 9th
Game 6: Saturday, March 6th

Hurricanes 3

(8-20-6, 22 pts)

Panthers 6

(15-14-7, 37 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 18, 2009

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
CAR 0 1 23
FLA 0 3 36

R. Dvorak (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

R. Olesz (Panthers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

J. Leopold (Panthers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Hurricanes-Panthers Preview


Three wins in four games have the Florida Panthers gaining confidence. A home-and-home series against the NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes could help them extend that surge.

The Panthers look to continue their strong play when they host the Hurricanes on Friday night.

Florida (14-14-7) has gone 3-0-1 since a 1-5-4 stretch. The Panthers did squander a three-goal lead Wednesday against Atlanta, but Michael Frolik scored with 1:21 remaining for a 4-3 win.

"I'm glad we got the win. I thought we did a lot of things well," coach Peter DeBoer said. "It wasn't textbook or a video that I'm going to do a whole lot of studying of. But it was a good two points and I think a deserved two points."

The Panthers have one of the worst home records in the NHL at 5-6-5 but have shown improvement lately, going 3-1-5 in their last nine at the BankAtlantic Center.

Frolik, 21, has 10 goals and nine assists after recording 21 and 24 as a rookie last season.

The Panthers are also getting contributions from Stephen Weiss, who scored his team-leading 16th goal and assisted on Frolik's winner Wednesday. The right wing had three goals and four assists over the last four games after failing to get a point in the previous two -- both losses.

The Panthers have split two meetings with the Hurricanes, winning the last one 3-0 at home Nov. 4.

Carolina (8-19-6) has a league-low 22 points but has been better of late, going 3-2-1 in its last six after a five-game skid. The Hurricanes defeated Dallas 5-3 on Wednesday.

"I'm very pleased with the way we played," coach Paul Maurice said. "We've played well over our last six or seven games."

The Hurricanes, though, have been awful on the road this season at 1-12-4. They were held to three goals or fewer in 16 of those games.

Tuomo Ruutu is looking for another big performance after recording his first career hat trick Wednesday. The left wing, better know for his defense, is tied with Ray Whitney for the team lead with 10 goals and is one point shy of Whitney's team-leading total of 22 assists.

Ruutu, however, has just two goals and two assists in 14 road games. He was held without a point against Florida on Nov. 4.

The teams cap their home-and-home set in Raleigh on Saturday.