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Losing streak hits five as Panthers fall 3-1 to Hurricanes

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Luongo’s 45 saves not enough for toothless Cats

NHL: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers saw its losing streak hit five games (0-3-2) after a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in Raleigh.

After a scoreless first period that saw the Hurricanes pepper Roberto Luongo with 20 shots, twice as many as the Panthers sent at Scott Darling, Carolina finally lit the lamp 12:17 into the second when Brock McGinn knocked in the rebound of Noah Hanifin’s shot from the left circle. So much for brotherly love... Roland McKeown drew the secondary assist with a fine pass to Hanifin.

Florida would counter with a power-play goal 1:46 later with Jeff Skinner off for slashing. Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau worked a beautiful give-and-go that ended with Trocheck easily beating a sprawled-out Darling. Luongo also collected a helper of Trocheck’s team-leading seventh.

Derek Ryan potted the game-winning 9:35 into the final frame with a nifty display of hand-eye coordination. Ryan won an offensive zone draw and went to the net, where he was left all alone to bat the rebound of Justin Williams’ drive off Luongo’s body and into the back of the net. McKeown picked up his second assist of the night on Ryan’s third of the season.

The Hurricanes got the clincher with 1:14 left in regulation when Williams scored into an empty net with the assists going to Joakim Nordstrom and Jaccob Slavin.

Despite getting tagged with the loss, Luongo was absolutely stupendous, making 45 saves, including this rob-job with the glove on Skinner early in the second period, to keep his club in striking distance all night.

The struggling Cats will shuffle off to Buffalo for game two of the three-game road trip. They will need to cut down on the shots against and also get a better performance from their top line if they are going to beat the Sabres. After combining for three goals and ten points against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Hubderdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Evegnii Dadonov haven’t scored a game in their last three outings.

Full Highlights

Wind & Water

  • Roberto Luongo played in his 500th game with the Panthers and passed Terry Sawchuk for third in games played by an NHL goaltender with 972. Patrick Roy is up next on the all-time list with 1,029 games played.
  • In addition to his two assists, 21-year-old rookie Roland McKeown finished with two shots and a +2 rating in just his second big-league game.
  • The Panthers killed off all five Hurricanes power plays, improving their percentage to 73.2 on the season.
  • 38 of Carolina’s 48 shots came in the first forty minutes of action. Florida needs to find a way to spend more time in the offensive zone.
  • Scott Darling finished the game with 30 stops, raising his record to 4-3-3 and lowering his GAA to a stingy 2.35 in the process.
  • With a goal, 3 hits, and 3 shots, Brock won the battle of the McGinn’s over older brother Jamie, who mustered just one and one hit.
  • You won’t feel finer, but do stop by Canes Country for the other side of this one.