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Jokinen, Roberts combine to keep Hurricanes winless

Oct 12, 2006 - 3:00 AM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Olli Jokinen helped put the defending champion Carolina Hurricanes in the record books for all the wrong reasons.

Jokinen scored two goals and had two assists and Gary Roberts tallied twice as the Florida Panthers posted a 6-3 victory over the winless Carolina Hurricanes.

With the loss, Carolina became the first team in league history to start defense of its championship with four straight losses. After raising the championship banner at home last Wednesday, the Hurricanes have been outscored 17-7 in the past four contests.

"We're a long ways away," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "When you're not playing at the highest level, I don't think the thing to do is take your foot off the gas. We need to get better."

Jokinen scored a shorthanded goal, putting the Panthers up 3-1 with just under three minutes remaining in the second period, and his second goal 74 seconds into the third gave Florida a 5-2 edge. The four points scored by the ninth-year veteran tied a career high.

"We had nine turnovers in the first period," Jokinen said. "In the second period we started shooting the puck and guys were going to the net. We got 18 shots in the second period. That was the turning point in the game."

Roberts put the Panthers up 1-0 when he took a feed from Jokinen and blasted a shot past goaltender John Grahame 8:09 into the first period. His second goal off a steal and feed by Jokinen came with 11 seconds remaining in the second period, increasing Florida's lead to 4-2.

"To have a lead like that to work with is something," Florida goaltender Alex Auld said. "It makes my job easier. We played a lot better game, getting traffic in front of the net and back-checks, and eliminating turnovers after the first period. That's a big key for us for success."

Florida coach Jacques Martin thought Robert's goal at the end of the second period was the key to the game.

"We got a huge play out of Jokinen, a great hustle and a great job by Gary to get to the net," Martin said. "That goal was probably the turning point in the hockey game. If we don't score that goal, they go in between periods with some momentum."

Auld stopped 32 shots while Stephen Weiss added a goal and two assists for the Panthers, who have scored 14 goals at home compared to just one in their two road losses.

"It's nice to play pretty good in front of our home fans," Roberts said. "We played pretty good at home last year and that's something we need to carry over. We need to be better on the road, of course, but it's sure nice to score some goals at home and put on a good showing for our fans."

Eric Belanger and Scott Walker each had a goal and an assist for Carolina. Grahame yielded all six goals on 31 shots. He is now 0-4 in his last four starts against Florida.

"I was trying to be a little bit more aggressive because I feel I got caught standing still too much," Grahame said. "When the team's fighting out there, the goalie's got to come up big. I think I let everybody down."

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