Canes answer Panthers this time

Staff WriterDecember 20, 2009 

— This time, the most was made of an early goal from forward Patrick Dwyer.

And Dwyer is making much of his third stint with the Carolina Hurricanes, who hung on for a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers at the RBC Center on Saturday night.

Carolina (9-20-6) had fallen 6-3 at Florida on Friday night. Dwyer scored the first goal in that game, too.

"Well, there's more to a lot of these young players' games than you see right off the bat," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "He's had some games with us. We're starting to see a little bit more confidence with the puck."

On Saturday, Dwyer, who was called up from the Albany River Rats on Dec. 15, raced to the end boards with Florida's Keith Ballard, took the check and was there to one-time a pass that center Matt Cullen wrapped across the crease at 12:28.

"He's a fun guy to play with because he's always jumping into holes and he's not afraid to shoot the puck," Cullen said, adding that he was surprised that Dwyer even had the quickness to be there for the shot.

"I like to take the hit and try to beat guys out," Dwyer said.

Just over two minutes after Dwyer's goal, Hurricanes forward Stephane Yelle was sent to the box for tripping.

But on the ensuing penalty kill, former Hurricanes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg couldn't locate the puck along the blue line, and Cullen collected it, with he and Dwyer racing into a two-on-one with Florida defenseman Bryan McCabe.

Cullen sent a glance toward Dwyer to draw off McCabe for a moment, then fired a wrister past Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen for a short-handed goal.

"It's a good job by everybody on the ice, pressuring the puck and causing the turnover," Cullen said. "I think that our kill has been pretty good."

Added Dwyer: "I was just trying to go to the net, try to draw that [defenseman], kind of being a decoy."

Hurricanes forward Sergei Samsonov added a goal from the left circle on a pass from Tom Kostopoulos. Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison connected with Kostopoulos on a pass across the ice to the Panthers' blue line.

Carolina goalie Cam Ward had a shutout going into the third period but was caught behind the net on a weird bounce off the end glass.

Florida defenseman Jordan Leopold dumped the puck into the Carolina end, but the puck bounced in front of an empty net for Florida center Shawn Matthias at 2:17 in the period.

About three minutes later, Ward turned away a two-on-one attempt with a dazzling save.

Florida (15-15-7) had other late chances.

Forward Tuomo Ruutu was called for holding, and later two more penalties set up Florida for 94 seconds of a two-man advantage.

Florida center Stephen Weiss scored his 17th goal of the season at 12:39, but the Hurricanes killed off the remaining minute of the second penalty.

The Panthers brought pressure and a sixth skater at the end of the game, setting up Dwyer for an open net. But he hesitated, looking for Cullen, and the drama continued to the final seconds.

"We're going to work on the empty net with him, but in his defense that's the first experience for him," Maurice said.

javier.serna@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4953

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