Mar 18, 2012; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes celebrate a goal by forward Eric Staal (12) during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

The Day After: Hurricanes Staal Panthers Winning Streak

The Florida Panthers went into Raleigh Wednesday night riding a five game winning streak.  Their longest winning streak since 2008, and the Panthers had hopes of making it six in a row against their division rival the Carolina Hurricanes.  Playing on the heels of a hard fought win over the Philadelphia Flyers the night before, coach Kevin Dineen was looking to add a spark to the lineup by insterting two new players for Florida.  Dmitry Kuleeeeeeekov a young Russian defenceman and Marcel Gaaaawch a German center made their Panther debuts, and played strong games, but their energy just wasn’t enough as the Panthers fell 3-1.  (Did you catch that?).

Eric Staal the Carolina captain scored twice for his second two goal game in a row, and Joni Pitkanen who had missed three months for injury had a goal and an assist to give the Hurricanes their fourth consecutive victory.  In addition to Pitkanen’s return,  Jeff Skinner was also back in the lineup after serving a two game suspension for kicking St. Louis forward Scott Nichol with his skate.

The Hurricanes came out hard and knew that the Panthers were a tired team and a deflected shot 46 seconds in put the Canes up by one, and the Panthers had an uphill battle from their.  Carolina, a team that still believes they can make the playoffs, won the battles, but Florida did themselves no favors with a penalty filled night.  Not a good sign when you’re playing back to back games and your legs are tired.  When you have to rely on your special teams this much in a back to back game, you’re going to be tired, and when the third period arrived, the Panthers looked gassed.  At least to me as I watched a blurry telecast on my computer.  The game seemed slow…..or maybe it was the internet feed.  I wish  I could have seen boarding penalty on Drayson Bowman when he checked Panther defenceman Mike Weaver, who went face head first into the boards late in the first period.  Seems as though the Hurricanes-Panthers rivalry is approaching the same level of angst as the Blackhawks-Canucks.

Back to my reference of looking for a spark, Scottie Upshall made his first appearance since January 24th.  Upshall played 10 minutes, had one shot on goal and served a two minute minor for roughing.  Mike Santorelli was also inserted into the lineup but was a complete non factor only playing six minutes.

Tomas Fleischmann scored the lone goal for Florida with picking up a rebound in front of Cam Ward who made 30 saves, but that was all the scoring the Panthers could muster.  Jose Theodore played well again, but had no goal support.  Theodore made 36 saves himself, and the score could have been much worse.

Not much else to say, although there was some sort of scrum at center ice at the end of the game.  Couldn’t tell you exactly what happened as my live internet feed was cut off.  Penalties were handed out to both teams, and it was reported that Erik Gudbronson (who) was a very fiesty customer.

Finally I would suggest to Carolina Hurricanes play by play man Chuck Kaiton to click on these links to learn the proper pronunciation of certain Panther players:

Dmitry Kulikov

Marcel Goc

Erik Gudbranson

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Eric Staal Florida Panthers Joni Pitkanen

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