Hurricanes-Panthers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 03, 2013
With their first divisional victory of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes claimed sole possession of the Southeast Division lead for the first time. Now the Hurricanes have an opportunity to extend their lead with another division win on Sunday when they visit the injury-plagued Florida Panthers in the back end of a home-and-home series. Despite having a 10-3-1 record against the rest of the Eastern Conference, Carolina (11-8-1) lost its first five division contests by a combined 21-7 margin before beating the Panthers 6-2 on Saturday. The Hurricanes' third win in four games pushed them ahead of surging Winnipeg atop the Southeast. With the Jets idle on Sunday, Carolina can build a four-point cushion with a second straight win over the Panthers. "If you're going to be on top of your division, you have to beat the teams in your division,'' 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.'' Florida has won eight of 10 at home in this series, but will likely be without goalie Jose Theodore after he left Saturday's game in the first period with a lower-body injury. "It's going to be a while,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "He was pretty sore on the ice, and it wasn't much better off (it)." Scott Clemmensen made 27 saves in relief, but allowed all six goals and fell to 2-2-2 with a 4.31 goals-against average on the season. While he's lost four of six lifetime starts against the Hurricanes, Clemmensen had 34 saves in a 4-1 win last April in his only home start in this series. Clemmensen will have to find a way to contain a Carolina attack that has 10 goals in its last two games. Leading scorer Eric Staal and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice on Saturday, while Riley Nash netted his first goal as part of a three-point effort. Jiri Tlusty had his 10th goal in 11 games and Alexander Semin had three assists, giving him eight in his last four contests. Carolina's top line of Tlusty, Staal and Semin has combined for six goals and eight assists in the past two games. Filip Kuba and Shawn Matthias, meanwhile, scored for the last-place Panthers (6-10-5), who lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Defenseman Brian Campbell had two of the Panthers' four first-period goals in a season-opening 5-1 win in the last meeting in Florida. He also had two goals and three assists in two games before failing to pick up a point on Saturday. With the Hurricanes playing the second of back-to-back contests, it's unclear who will start in goal on Sunday. Cam Ward, who had 22 saves to beat the Panthers for only the second time in six starts, has played both ends of back-to-back nights once this season. He allowed six goals while earning consecutive road wins over the New York Islanders and New Jersey Feb. 11-12. Dan Ellis, who is 3-2-0 with a 2.39 GAA, could get his sixth start. He's won two of his three starts with a 2.55 GAA in Florida.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Report: Bradham was defending girlfriend during alleged assault

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Tigers play high stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus: What does this mean for Serie A?

MLB asks Yaisel Puig to stop wearing his Vin Scully cleats

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker