With its fifth straight win over the Panthers, the Hurricanes ascended to the top of the Discover Central Division, while the Cats tumbled to third.
Sebastian Aho opened the scoring with the only goal Carolina would need at the 14:31 mark of the first period, just seven seconds after Matt Kiersted went to the penalty box for hooking. An offensive zone faceoff win by Eric Staal started the play that saw Dougie Hamilton go to Andrei Svechnikov, who went down low to Trocheck and then across to Aho for the bullet one-timer from the right circle.
Trocheck would score for the sixth straight game against his old mates 6:35 into the second, when his shot from a sharp angle caught the juncture of the post and cross bar and went high in the air before plunging down off the back of Chris Driedger’s right shoulder and over the goal line. Necas and Brady Skjei collected the assists on Trocheck’s 16th goal.
Necas would salt the game away with his tenth goal, into an empty net, from Nino Niedereiter, with 52 seconds remaining on the clock.
Driedger was usual solid self, stopping 19 of 21 shots faced, and the Panthers had some good chances in close, especially in the first period, but couldn’t finish them off. The Cats flipped the faceoff script on the Hurricanes and out-hit them 39-24, but the power play went a disappointing 0 for 4, leading to yet another defeat against this frustrating bunch of jerks. The teams have one more two game set remaining, in Sunrise on April 22 and 24. Up next for the Cats is a Saturday matinee affair against the Dallas Stars.
Wind & Water
- Sebastian Aho’s game-winner was the 300th point of his NHL career.
- Aleksander Barkov led the Panthers with 23:07 TOI and won 20 of his 29 faceoffs (69%).
- Alex Nedeljkovic picked up his third shutout in just his 15th start of the season.
- Carter Verhaeghe registered a team-high six shots on goal.
- Gustav Forsling played in his 150th NHL game and led Florida with 3:44 shorthanded TOI.
- Vincent Trocheck has scored a point in 12 straight games he’s played (7G/10A); he missed eight in between with an upper-body injury.
- Ryan Lomberg and MacKenzie Weegar each posted a team-high seven hits and Noel Acciari led the club with four blocked shots.
- Brady Keeper made his first appearance of the season debut after being promoted from the taxi squad and had one hit in 9:28
- The Cats are struggling with the man advantage. They are 0-for-11 in their past four games.
- For more on Florida’s latest loss to Carolina, pay a visit Canes Country.