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New coach, same result as 'Canes fall to Panthers

Nov 30, 2011 - 3:28 AM
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Shawn Matthias scored twice, including the go- ahead tally late in the third period, as the Florida Panthers spoiled Kirk Muller's debut on Carolina's bench with a 3-1 win over the Hurricanes.

Tomas Fleischmann netted the other goal for Florida, which got 26 saves from Jose Theodore.

Muller, who had been serving as head coach for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, took over for Paul Maurice after he was fired on Monday. Muller served as an assistant coach with Montreal for five seasons and was also head coach at the Canadian collegiate level.

A 19-year NHL veteran, Muller, recorded 357 goals and 959 points during his playing career, and won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993.

"I thought they really did their part in what we asked from them, come and work hard, play for each other, we didn't get the bounce, but they played hard," Muller said.

Jeff Skinner had the lone tally for the Hurricanes, who have lost four straight games.

Cam Ward stopped 18-of-20 shots in defeat.

Fleischmann put the Panthers on the board first with a laser from the left point on the power-play midway through the second period.

Skinner netted the tying goal just over a minute later.

From behind the net, Eric Staal slid a pass to Skinner, who positioned himself in the slot. Theodore stopped the initial try, but Skinner got his own rebound and deposited the puck into the back of the net.

Jack Skille was rewarded with a penalty shot near the midway point of the third period when Joni Pitkanen dragged him down from behind on a shot attempt from the slot. On the penalty try, Skille moved in and fired a wrister, but Ward stoned him with a glove save.

After Tomas Kaberle failed to clear the puck out of the Hurricanes' zone, Tomas Kopecky flicked a shot on net. Matthias, who positioned himself just right of the goal post, finished as he lifted the shot past Ward with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.

Matthias added an empty-netter with under a minute remaining to put the game away.

Game Notes

Maurice exited as the all-time winningest head coach in franchise history and had a record of 384-391-145 during his tenure. Maurice also led the team to the Eastern Conference title in 2002...Ward has stopped 8-of-12 penalty shots in his career.