SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Brad Fast scored his first NHL goal with
2:26 left in the third period to help Carolina salvage a 6-6 tie at
Florida on Sunday after the Hurricanes had squandered a 4-0 lead.
Fast, playing his first NHL game after being recalled from the
American Hockey League on Saturday, made it 6-all with a wrist shot
from the right circle.
Vrbata's first-period goal snapped Carolina's 0-for-30
power-play drought and helped the Hurricanes build a 4-0 lead after
Donald Audette had two goals and two assists for the Panthers.
Christian Berglund also scored twice for Florida. Mikael Samuelsson
and Kamil Piros had the other goals, while Olli Jokinen and Mike Van Ryn each had three assists.
Carolina is winless in its last six visits to the Office Depot
Center (0-5-1), but the tie enabled the Hurricanes to secure third
place in the Southeast Division with 76 points. Florida finished
fourth with 75 points.
Roberto Luongo, who set NHL records for most saves and most
shots faced this season, stopped 26 shots. Carolina goalie Arturs
Irbe was replaced by Kevin Weekes after Audette's second goal made
it 6-4 at 6:23 of the third period.
It was Florida's third goal of the third period as the Panthers
turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
Staal brought Carolina to within a goal at 15:04 with a wrist
shot through traffic.
^Notes:@ Hall of Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald, who is
retiring as Panthers radio play-by-play voice, dropped the
ceremonial first puck. ... Carolina's four goals in the first set a
season high for a period. The Hurricanes had scored three goals in
a period on five different occasions. ... The four goals tied
Florida's season high for goals allowed in a period, set against
Colorado Jan. 21 and Washington Feb. 27. ... The season series
ended 2-2-2. ... The Panthers have lost only three of 11 season
finales in their history (6-3-2).