RALEIGH, N.C. – Matt Cullen had a power-play goal and an assist, Cory Stillman also scored with the man advantage and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Saturday night.

Chad LaRose and Trevor Letowski also scored, and Jeff Hamilton and Rod Brind’Amour each had two assists for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes, who entered with the league’s fifth-best power play.

Carolina snapped Florida’s two-game winning streak and avoided its second two-game losing streak by avenging a two-goal loss to the Panthers three days earlier.

Jay Bouwmeester and Richard Zednik scored for the Panthers, who were denied their first win here since 2002 and fell to 2-6 on the road this season. Florida has lost 12 times and tied once in its last 13 visits to Raleigh.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 36 shots for Florida, while Carolina backup John Grahame made 22 saves in his first victory at home this season.

The division rivals have some bad blood between them that dates back to last season, when Carolina went 7-1 in a season series that Florida accused the Hurricanes of diving throughout. During last week’s loss in south Florida, Carolina loudly objected to two diving penalties, with right wing Justin Williams insisting to reporters that “I’m not going to have my reputation ruined.”

There weren’t any diving calls this time – just more of the same strong special-teams play by Carolina.

Cullen opened the scoring midway through the first by converting with the man advantage, parking himself near the goal and hammering home the rebound of Hamilton’s long slap shot.

Stillman restored Carolina’s two-goal lead with 8:53 remaining when he screened Vokoun and redirected Cullen’s blast from the point.

In between, the Hurricanes twice led by two goals during a wild second-period stretch during which the teams combined for three goals in less than two minutes.

LaRose started the scoring flurry when he took a pass from Brind’Amour and snapped a shot past Vokoun to make it 2-0. Then, 19 seconds after Bouwmeester skated in from the point and beat Grahame high, Letowski put the Hurricanes back up by two goals when he snapped the rebound of Hamilton’s shot past Vokoun.

Zednik scored late in the second to pull Florida to 3-2, beating two defenders to a loose puck and backhanding it past Grahame’s glove side for his sixth goal, and fourth in three games.

Notes: Both of Bouwmeester’s goals this season have come against Carolina. … This was the second of four meetings between the teams in an 18-day span. … Stillman rang the left post with a one-timer in the first. … Florida C Olli Jokinen extended his points streak to four games with an assist on the Panthers’ first goal, but his three-game scoring streak ended.

AP-ES-11-03-07 2135EDT


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