SUNRISE, Fla. (WNCN) – A power-play goal and a shorthanded tally helped Carolina to a 4-2 win over Florida Thursday, keeping the Hurricanes atop the Central Division standings.
Alexander Barkov opened the scoring at the 6:22 mark of the first period. The Panthers maintained the lead through the opening stanza until Jordan Martinook equalized 14 seconds into the second.
Nino Niederreiter gave the ‘Canes the lead just past the midway point of the period. Brett Pesce’s wrist shot on the power play was stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky, but the rebound fell to Niederreiter in the slot.
The ‘Canes found themselves down a man late in the second period. Florida was keen on tying the game, but instead saw Martin Necas pick off a light pass back to the point. That led to a 2-on-0 rush with him and Sebastian Aho. It was Aho who finally shot on the give-and-go, doubling the advantage with a shorthanded goal.
Barkov scored on the power play to pull the Panthers back within one with less than 8 minutes to play in the third, but Aho put the game away with an empty-net marker late in the third.
Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves on 32 shots for the win. He has started three of Carolina’s last four games and come out victorious all three times.
Florida and Carolina meet again Saturday. The two are tied atop the Central Division with 65 points each, but the ‘Canes have played two fewer games. Tampa Bay trails closely with 64 points.