Final

Series (Game 3 of 8)

Carolina leads 6-2

Game 1: Saturday, November 5th
Panthers0Final
Hurricanes2
Game 2: Friday, November 11th
Hurricanes1Final
Panthers0
Game 3: Friday, December 23rd
Panthers3Final
Hurricanes4
Game 4: Wednesday, January 25th
Hurricanes4Final
SO
Panthers3
Game 5: Friday, March 3rd
Panthers2Final
Hurricanes5
Game 6: Friday, March 10th
Hurricanes3Final
Panthers5
Game 7: Saturday, March 11th
Hurricanes3Final
OT
Panthers4
Game 8: Friday, March 31st
Panthers2Final
Hurricanes3

Panthers 3

(13-20-4, 30 pts)

Hurricanes 4

(23-9-2, 48 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 23, 2005

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 T
FLA 1 1 13
CAR 1 1 24

M. Cullen (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

E. Staal (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Williams (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Streaking Hurricanes hold off late Panthers rally in win

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Peter Laviolette had plenty of reason to feel frustrated about the Carolina Hurricanes' inability to score on the power play.

But instead, the coach looked at the man-advantage goal they managed to score.

"It won the game for us," he said. "Take the positive from it."

Rod Brind'Amour scored in the third period for the team's only power-play goal in 15 chances, helping the Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Friday night.

Justin Williams put Carolina ahead to stay with a third-period goal, and Eric Staal and Matt Cullen also scored. Martin Gerber made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who won all five games on their 11-day homestand despite coming up empty on their first 13 power-play chances.

Carolina's 15 power plays were the most for the franchise since it relocated here from Hartford for the 1997-98 season. It was also the most in franchise records, dating to the 1980s; the franchise had 13 chances three times, most recently in a 7-0 win against Pittsburgh four years ago.

The Southeast Division leaders came into the game ranked eighth in the NHL with 40 goals in 209 power plays, including a 3-for-9 effort in Tuesday's 6-4 win against Tampa Bay.

"It was a tough game, no question," Brind'Amour said. "I think if we had lost that, it would have been bad. But because we won, nobody's going to look back and say, 'Oh, what about this power play or that one?'

"It was a game where it wasn't pretty, but we got the job done," he said.

Laviolette figured his team had about a dozen good scoring opportunities with the man advantage.

"The chances were there," he said. "We just didn't put them in the back of the net."

Olli Jokinen had two goals and an assist to lead the Panthers, who have lost all three meetings with Carolina this season. Gary Roberts also scored and had an assist but missed on a prime chance to tie it in the final minute.

"I thought we competed hard," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "We made some mistakes, but we had to face a lot of adversity."

Florida was called for 17 minor penalties, compared to Carolina's nine.

"That's embarrassing. That's all I'm going to say," said Florida defenseman Sean Hill, who was with the Hurricanes during their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002. "The Hurricanes are a great team, they don't need any help. It just seemed like it wasn't called very consistent."

Erik Cole found Williams for the go-ahead goal at 9:38 of the third period. Cole sent a one-handed pass to a trailing Williams while tussling with Joe Nieuwendyk, and Williams beat Roberto Luongo straightaway for a 3-2 lead.

Brind'Amour gave Carolina a 4-2 lead to end Carolina's futility on the power play, taking a pass from Staal along the boards and beating Luongo from the right side at 12:41.

Florida had a chance to tie it late after getting a five-on-three goal from Jokinen off a pass from Nieuwendyk that cut the deficit to 4-3 at 18:29.

Later, Stephen Weiss sent a perfect pass to a cutting Roberts, who should have had an easy putaway at the right post with Gerber on the other side of the net. But Roberts couldn't corral the puck, which hit the side of the net with about 40 seconds left.

Game notes


Cory Stillman's assist on Cullen's first-period goal was his seventh in four games. ... Carolina came in with 46 points in 33 games, four better than the previous franchise best set in 1986-87 when the team was the Hartford Whalers. ... Jokinen extended his point streak to six games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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