Hurricanes defeat Panthers, snap four-game slide
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes insist they aren’t feeling the pressure, but they’re feeling better after a productive third period Tuesday night.
Derek Ryan scored the tiebreaking goal as the Hurricanes halted a four-game winless streak (0-2-2) by defeating the Florida Panthers 3-1 at PNC Arena.
“I don’t think we had a lot of pressure (festering),” Ryan said. “I don’t feel we’ve been outplayed in a lot of games this season.”
Certainly not this one, even though it took time to secure the rewards.
“That’s much closer to how we want to play,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said after his team controlled tempo and held a 48-31 edge in shots.
Brock McGinn also scored for Carolina (5-5-3), which won for only the second time in six home games (2-2-2). Justin Williams added an empty-net goal.
Defenseman Roland McKeown notched two assists for his first NHL points.
Vincent Trocheck scored his team-leading seventh goal for the Panthers (4-8-2), who are winless in five consecutive games (0-3-2).
Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling made 30 saves.
“It’s easy to be frustrated, especially when you’re not winning a lot,” Darling said.
That could have boiled over as the Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on power plays.
Florida goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 45 shots as he dealt with his biggest workload of the season.
For Darling, he found appreciation in the matchup.
“It’s always pretty cool to play against a guy like that,” he said of Luongo.
On the go-ahead goal, Ryan won a faceoff and then went to the front of the net where he batted the puck out of the air past Luongo. It was Ryan’s first goal on home ice since the season opener.
“A couple of bounces went our way and that’s what we need,” Ryan said.
Ryan took a pretty good baseball-like cut in sending the puck into the net. He said he was strong with the bat during his youth baseball days.
“We couldn’t find that next goal and then we had a missed assignment on that faceoff and that’s the difference in the game,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said.
McGinn broke a scoreless tie with his second goal of the season coming with 7:43 to play in the second period. It was on Carolina’s 31st shot of the game.
The secondary assist went to McKeown, playing in his second NHL game, for his first point.
“That’s a big night for him and you like to see that for a young player,” Peters said.
The lead didn’t last long, with the Panthers converting less than two minutes later on a power play with Trocheck making an easy deposit of the puck after crossing in front of Darling and taking a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau. Trocheck has scored in three consecutive games.
The Hurricanes went on two early power plays and had 10 shots across the first seven minutes, but didn’t dent the scoreboard. It was part of a 20-shot period for Carolina.
“I don’t think we started on time,” said Boughner, a former Hurricanes defenseman. “They took it to us the first few shifts and then we got into penalty trouble, obviously. Spent too much time with the same guys killing penalties. When it’s time to pour it on offensively, we got guys with not a lot of juice left.”
Carolina hasn’t eclipsed the three-goal mark in its last five games, but this time it took advantage of its second-highest shot total of the season.
Luongo helped the Panthers to their best game in terms of goals allowed in a four-game stretch. They had surrendered a total of 20 goals across the previous three games.
NOTES: Panthers G Roberto Luongo appeared in his franchise-record 500th game. It was his 972nd NHL game overall. ... Brothers LW Jamie McGinn of the Panthers and LW Brock McGinn of the Panthers both played in the game. ... The Panthers recalled C Chase Balisy from Springfield of the American Hockey League. He previously played in three games this season with the Panthers. ... Hurricanes D Brett Pesce was scratched as his return from a concussion sustained last week in practice was delayed. It was his third missed game. ... The Panthers play the middle contest of a three-game road trip Friday night at Buffalo. ... Carolina is back in action Friday night at Columbus.