The Sunrise Express pulled into the Bank Atlantic Center, and inspired the Panthers to play the single best period of hockey they have participated in this season.
The Express (Nathan Horton, RW; Stephen Weiss, C; David Booth, LW) stepped all over the Carolina Hurricanes in the first period. The team as a whole played with a passion that had been all but nonexistent—fighting for the puck, crashing the net, and in general playing aggressively.
In the end, the Cats netted two goals in the period—mostly due to the fact they spent most of the period in the Carolina zone.
Unfortunately for Florida, sloppy play starting the second period nearly cost them the game. The Hurricanes tied the game with two goals within the first two minutes of the second. Despite this, the Panthers rallied again to score another and take the lead.
In the third, the Panthers bucked yet another negative trend—blowing a late lead. They limited the Hurricanes to only seven shots on goal in the final period to hold onto a win.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Cats can use this win as a springboard to changing the dynamic of their season. With two more games left in this homestand, Florida will have to keep their claws sharp in order to climb their way out of the bottom of the Southeast.