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Staal scores 2, leads Hurricanes over Panthers

Eric Staal scored twice and Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

Cam Ward made 18 saves for the Hurricanes, who bounced back from a 7-4 loss at Florida on Friday night.

Darcy Hordichuk and Michael Frolik scored for the Panthers, and Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves.

Florida beat Carolina 7-4 on Friday, but the teams found offense harder to come by on the back end of the home-and-home series. After consecutive 50-shot efforts, Florida had only nine through two periods Saturday as Carolina clamped down.

After a first period with few scoring chances, Staal took a pass from Sergei Samsonov in the slot and one-timed a shot past Clemmensen's glove while the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 power play midway through the second. The Hurricanes squandered a prolonged two-man advantage in the third period of Friday's loss.

Carolina built its lead early in the third period when Erik Cole skated around the net and backhanded a perfect pass to Skinner, who knocked the puck past Clemmensen while parked in the crease.

Skinner entered the game leading NHL rookies with 10 points.

Florida responded one minute after Skinner's goal when Hordichuk beat Ward from just outside the crease.

Staal gave the Hurricanes another two-goal lead when he skated over the blue line on a rush and snapped a wrist shot that deflected off a Florida defender and through Clemmensen, who was off-balance.

Frolik brought the Panthers within 3-2 with 42.2 seconds remaining when he surprised Ward with a wrist shot from the boards near the circle.

The Hurricanes have won 17 of 19 home games against the Panthers and are 25-5-2 overall while facing the Panthers at the RBC Center.

Carolina had scored a combined 11 goals in its previous two games.

NOTES: Carolina D Joni Pitkanen missed his second straight game because of an upper body injury. Florida LW Cory Stillman sat out after injuring a shoulder Friday. Carolina D Joe Corvo played in his 500th NHL game.

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