Hurricanes vs. Panthers Preview
The Southeast Division foes open a home-and-home set Friday night at the BankAtlantic Center, where the Panthers have won the last three meetings.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Panthers –125 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Hurricanes. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 64% of more than 623 bets for this game have been placed on the Panthers -125.
Looking to avoid a third straight home shutout, Carolina (6-6-0) routed the New York Islanders 7-2 on Wednesday. It was the Hurricanes' highest output since an 8-5 win at Tampa on April 6.
Carolina had scored six goals while losing three of its previous four.
"It was pretty much the same kind of effort we've been getting," coach Paul Maurice said. "There wasn't anything out of the ordinary. (But) then we got on a roll, got a good feeling and started to do a lot of good things right for a while. Then coaches have fun after that."
Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, a former junior hockey teammate of Maurice, didn't enjoy watching his team match a franchise record with 55 shots in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Atlanta.
"We shouldn't give up four on 22 shots and we've got to score more than three on 55 shots," DeBoer said after his club was denied back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 14-16. "There's fault at both ends."
Tomas Vokoun, who has surrendered four or more goals in three of his last five starts, gave up two in the final 10:01 after defenseman Bryan Allen gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead with his first goal of the season.
"I think I played horrible. I gave up two bad goals," said Vokoun, 6-2-2 with a 2.15 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against Carolina. "We were a way better team the whole game. This one hurts. A few more saves from me and we would have won the game no problem."
Florida (4-6-0), though, has been one of the most inefficient offenses in the league, averaging 32.3 shots but scoring 2.7 goals per game.
Two of the Panthers' top three goal scorers in 2009-10 - Stephen Weiss and Michael Frolik - have combined for two goals.
Florida, which outscored the Hurricanes 13-4 while winning all three matchups at home last season, will likely face Cam Ward, who is 3-0-0 with a 2.62 GAA in his last three road starts.
The Hurricanes, who will try to win their fourth straight at home over the Panthers on Saturday, look for continued scoring from rookie Jeff Skinner.
Moved up to the team's top line next to captain Eric Staal, the 18-year-old forward scored and helped set up another Wednesday. Skinner leads the club with six assists and 10 points.
The Hurricanes are hoping fellow rookie Jon Matsumoto can continue to provide some secondary scoring. Called up from AHL Charlotte on Sunday, the 24-year-old center notched his first two career goals Wednesday in his second NHL game.
"(General manager) Jim Rutherford came down today and he just told us, 'If you're going to play in the league, at least have fun while you're doing it,'" Matsumoto said. "It's a lot more fun when you're winning."Carolina has been outscored 22-11 while losing five of six in Sunrise, Fla., since the beginning of the 2008-09 season.