Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/19/13
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers scored four goals in the first period, including three on the power play, and cruised to a 5-1 victory Saturday night over the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the Panthers' first four-goal period since Dec. 17, 2010, when they blitzed Buffalo in the opening 20 minutes. Saturday's outburst was made extra special since it was the season-opener. On a night when the Panthers raised their first-ever 2012 Southeast Division championship banner, the team got contributions from a wide variety of sources. The heroes ranged from a teenager to someone more than twice his age. It started with just 3:37 elapsed as center Jonathan Huberdeau, who was making his NHL debut, announced his arrival. The 19-year-old rookie, who was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, parked in front of the net, received a pass from Peter Mueller and one-timed it for a goal he won't soon forget. New Panthers winger Alex Kovalev, 39, who signed a one-year deal on Friday, got the secondary assist, one of two he recorded in the period. Kovalev, by the way, is the last remaining active player from the 1994 New York Rangers team that won the Stanley Cup. The next three goals came on the power play. Defenseman Brian Campbell made it 2-0 when he stole a clearing attempt and scored unassisted. His slapshot beat Cam Ward glove side with 6:42 gone. Ten minutes later, Campbell scored again, assisted by Kovalev and Stephen Weiss. Campbell had four goals and a team-high and career-high 49 assists last season, and he's off to a flying start in 2013. Winger Scottie Upshall capped the period with the Panthers' fourth goal of the night. If the fans were upset at the team because of the long lockout, those feelings never showed. There was a sellout crowd of 19,688 in the house, and the constant barrage of goals by the home team kept Panthers rooters happy. The Hurricanes pulled Ward after the first period, replacing him with Dan Ellis, a veteran backup who made his Carolina debut. The teams played to a stand-off in the second period. Kovalev made it 5-0 with a goal that was assisted by Huberdeau and defenseman Filip Kuba. The Hurricanes finally got on the board when Patrick Dwyer scored with 9:15 elapsed. Joni Pitkanen and Justin Faulk got the assists. Jose Theodore got the win in the nets for Florida. But it was a disappointing start for Carolina, considered the favorites in the division after adding Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin in the offseason. Staal was united with his brother Eric in the Hurricanes' lineup. NOTES: Right winger Alexander Semin made his Hurricanes debut, starting on the first line with center Eric Staal and Zach Boychuk on the left side. ... The Panthers took five out of six games from the Hurricanes last season. ... Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, 36, was named the Panthers' captain on Friday. The team's first-round pick in 1994, Jovanovski was traded to Vancouver in January of 1999 and returned to Florida in 2011. He becomes the Panthers' seventh captain in team history and their first since Brian McCabe was traded in 2011. Brian Campbell and Stephen Weiss will serve as assistant captains. ... The Panthers were without first-line winger Kris Versteeg and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who spent the lockout playing in Russia and just signed a two-year contract on Friday. Also out: defensemen Mike Weaver and Erik Gudbranson and forwards Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc. ... For the Hurricanes, defenseman Jamie McBain, center Jeremy Welsh and wingers Tuomo Ruutu and Kevin Westgarth were out.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Medals handed out at Rio Olympics literally falling apart

Report: Paul Millsap opts out of contract to become free agent

Ben Roethlisberger 'proud' of self-reporting 2015 concussion

Reporter responds on Twitter to LeBron calling him out at presser

Miguel Cabrera, Sam Dyson at odds over sign stealing accusation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Celtics were upset with talk focusing on Isaiah Thomas

Revis will not face NFL discipline after assault charges dropped

Allen: Washington has had ‘constant dialogue’ with Cousins

John Wall won’t sign extension until he sees Wizards' plan

Columnist reacts to Bennett's planned 'boycott' of Seattle paper

Bucs publicly challenging Jackson to earn big paycheck

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

Where did it all go wrong for the NBA second-round losers?

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

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

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