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Ruutu, Hurricanes top Panthers

Dec 16, 2010 - 5:56 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Tuomo Ruutu scored back-to-back goals in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied for a stunning 4-3 win over Florida on Wednesday.

Erik Cole and Jamie McBain also scored for the Panthers, who came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit in the first 5:16 of the game to win for the third time in five games.

"I didn't like our morning skate and we talked about (having a slow start) before hand and then we came out and it happened," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "It would have been very easy for our players to write [the game] of and they didn't."

Justin Peters made 21 saves on 22 shots in relief of Cam Ward, who was yanked by Maurice after yielding two goals on five shots in the first 1:42 of the game.

Evgeny Dadonov, Michael Frolik and Bryan McCabe scored Florida's goals, but the Panthers gave away the game for their seventh loss in 11 contests.

Tomas Vokoun, after stopping 12 shots in a scoreless first period, gave up four goals on 22 shots in the last 40 minutes to take the loss.

In fact, Vokoun was directly responsible for Carolina's go-ahead goal with 6:12 left in the game.

Misplaying a puck in front of the net, he sent a pass directly onto the stick of Ruutu and was unable to get into position quickly enough to make the save.

It was the third goal scored by Carolina in the period -- McBain beat Vokoun with a wrister from a sharp angle on the right side at 7:02 and Ruutu stuffed a puck in from the front of the net on a power play at 12:20 to tie the game.

It was a stunning turnaround for the Hurricanes, who looked overmatched in the opening minutes as Florida surged to its 3-0 lead.

Dadonov scored first, just 29 seconds into the game, when he jumped on a loose puck that had drifted all the way from a faceoff in the left circle to the crease in front of Ward.

Ward was pulled after losing a rebound to Frolik in front of the net, but Peters also yielded an early power play goal on McCabe's slap shot.

Maurice said the early goals weren't necessarily Ward's fault, but also that he holds his netminder "to a higher standard" than most of the other players.

"I wanted a change" in goal, Maurice said.

Carolina settled down and got its first goal from Cole with 5:21 remaining in the second period. Vokoun stopped the initial shot from Jeff Skinner, who got behind two defenders for an open look, but Cole was there for the easy rebound.

Game Notes

Skinner and Sergei Samsonov both had two assists in the win...Florida was 1- for-3 on the power play, while Carolina went 1-for-4.