Ward hurt, Canes get win in Florida, 3-2
Posted March 3, 2013
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — FINAL: Canes 3, Florida 2
Cam Ward left the game in the second period moments after a collision with defenseman Justin Faulk but the Carolina Hurricanes held on and defeated the Florida Panthers for a second consecutive night, 3-2.
End of 2: Canes 3, Florida 1
Each team tallied a goal in the second period meaning the Canes take a two-goal advantage into the third, but they will do so without Cam Ward.
Ward remained in the game after a collision with Justin Faulk who undercut the goaltender breaking up a fast break. Ward made one save about a minute later, went down awkwardly and was then helped off the ice.
Dan Ellis, who was originally supposed to start for the Canes but instead took a seat because he is sick, has been forced into action. He surrendered a goal to Jonathan Huberdeau but did come up with five saves in relief.
Jordan Staal scored his fifth of the year early in the period for the Canes.
End of 1: Canes 2, Florida 0
Carolina scored twice in the final two minutes of the first period and Cam Ward stopped all 12 shots he saw as the Canes take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Alex Semin, who is celebrating his 29th birthday today, scored the second goal with just 51 seconds to play in the period after Justin Faulk broke the scoreless tie at the 18:08 mark.
Scott Clemmensen for Florida has now given up eight goals in 24 hours to the Canes.
20:00 1st: Canes at Florida
Goaltending issues have struck for both teams even before the game in Sunrize, Fla., gets started.
For Florida, Jose Theodore was hurt Saturday night prompting the Panthers to recall goalie-of-the-future Jacob Markstrom. However, Markstom's gear is late-arriving and the goalie coach was in net for the pregame skate.
For Carolina, Dan Ellis is out with an illness meaning Cam Ward will start for the second consecutive night.
The Canes also recalled Brett Sutter early Sunday to replace Chad LaRose who is staying back in Raleigh to be evaluated for "concussion-like symptoms."
The Carolina Hurricanes' first divisional victory this season put them alone atop the Southeast standings. They'll look to pad their advantage for that spot on Sunday evening in the back end of a home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers.
The Hurricanes hosted Saturday's opener of this series having lost each of their first five games this season against divisional opponents, including a 5-1 loss in Florida on Jan. 19. However, Carolina used a big first period en route to a 6-2 win, moving two points clear of the Winnipeg Jets for first place.
Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal both scored two goals and Jokinen added an assist on Riley Nash's first career goal. Nash came up with a pair of helpers himself, while Alexander Semin had three assists.
Cam Ward made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won three of their past four overall.
"If you're going to be on top of your division, you have to beat the teams in your division," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said. "We haven't had success on that part of it this year. I think our guys knew that this is a big weekend and the importance of it. I think it showed in their play."
The Panthers got goals from Shawn Matthias and Filip Kuba, but lost for the fourth time in five games and dropped to 2-5-4 in their last 11. Their six wins on the season are the fewest in the Eastern Conference.
Injuries also continued to have their way with the Panthers, who lost goaltender Jose Theodore to a lower body injury just 2:22 into the game. He was relieved by Scott Clemmensen, who was tagged for three goals in a 3:05 span towards the midway point of the first period and stopped just 27-of-33 shots faced overall.
That came against a Hurricanes team that had been outscored 22-8 in the first period this season heading in.
"We were not prepared to play this game," a frustrated Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said afterward. "We had a big divisional game against our first- place team. We could have reeled them in, and it looked like from the drop of the puck that we weren't prepared."
Along with Theodore, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) and forward Scottie Upshall (lower body) left the game due to injury. Upshall was playing in his first game after missing 13 straight with an ankle issue.
Florida was already playing without captain Ed Jovanovski, forward Kris Versteeg and defensemen Mike Weaver and Michael Caruso.
Carolina also saw the return of defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who had been out of the lineup since Feb. 12 with a lower body injury, but he did not return after the first period due to injury.
The Hurricanes' win over the Panthers was only their second in the past eight meetings and they have lost four straight in Florida.