|@ Panthers (47-26-9)||3||1||0||5|
Roberto Luongo had to make a diving save within the first minute of play to keep the Hurricanes from scoring but the Panthers rewarded him by coming back shortly after to successfully score the first goal of the game. Teddy Purcell scored the goal, which was assisted by Jiri Hudler and Rocco Grimaldi. Jussi Jokinen scored a goal so quickly after that he left all the fans saying “Did Jussi that?” The helpers on this goal were Nick Bjugstad and Dmitry Kulikov. Eddie Lack really was just not having a good night tonight. Either that, or the Hurricanes were tanking. Aaron Ekblad scored just a few minutes later to give the Panthers a three point lead. The goal was assisted by Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell. Unsurprisingly, this goal was followed by a huge fight. There were multiple members involved, but the result was roughing penalties for Shawn Thornton and Brendan Woods. After 5-on-5 play returned, the game started to slow down a bit. The Panthers still held a pretty steep lead, though. At the end of the period, the Panthers were leading 3-0 and they also held the edge in shots on goal 11-5. Although the Panthers were leading, they really didn’t have that many shots on goal. If I had one suggestion for the Cats in the final two periods, it would be to keep shooting.
Just as in the last period, the Panthers wasted no time in scoring. Jonathan Huberdeau tallied the goal this time. The goal was assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov. The Cats remained fairly dominant, but the Hurricanes weren’t going to let them get off that easy. Elias Lindholm scored to put Carolina on the board. A bit later on, Jordan Staal was called for holding and the Panthers would get their first power play of the game. Unfortunately, the advantage was cut short because Jiri Hudler was sent to the box for hooking. In the end, both penalties were killed. At the end of the period, the Cats were up 4-1 and they continued to lead in shots on goal 16-14. The Panthers didn’t have the same lucky bounces this period and although they played well, the Hurricanes showed the beginnings of a comeback and the Panthers can’t take that lightly. This should be a sure win for the Cats, so let’s hope they make that notion a reality in the third.
Man, do the Panthers know how to start strong. Derek MacKenzie scored within minutes of the period. However, it was challenged because the play was offsides and as a result, the goal was overturned. The Cats did not stop working, though. They had to take a break in this pursuit when Aaron Ekblad was called for tripping, but the Panthers still got shorthanded opportunities. The Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal snuck the puck past Luongo before the penalty was over and Carolina was within two. The goal was followed by a Canes penalty on Jay McClement for hooking, so the Panthers would have the chance to regain a strong lead. Sadly, they could not do this. Around this point in the game, the Hurricanes started to lead in shots on goal. However, Luongo was able to make some key saves to keep the Panthers winning. Eddie Lack headed to the bench with about two minutes left but this did not help the Canes much. Reilly Smith scored an empty netter and Panthers won this game 5-2.
Teddy Purcell scored to give the Panthers an important and very early lead. He also assisted the Ekblad goal. Jussi Jokinen remained ever-present tonight by scoring the Cats’ second goal. Aaron Ekblad continued the Panthers’ domination by scoring the team’s third goal. Jiri Hudler assisted both this goal and the Purcell goal. You didn’t think you could go a game without seeing the Panthers’ top line get on the board, did you? Jonathan Huberdeau scored his 20th of the season, assisted by Jagr and Barkov.
We don’t quite know when the next game will be, or who it will be against for that fact, but what we do know is that we will be around to preview and recap the game, so stay tuned for that.