SUNRISE, Fla. – Eric Staal broke a tie 9:34 into the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes went on to beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Friday night.
Jeff Skinner, who came into the game leading NHL rookies with 28 points, had two goals and an assist for Carolina. Erik Cole also had two goals, including an empty-netter, and Tuomo Ruutu added two assists.
Justin Peters, making only his seventh start of the season, stopped 32 shots for Carolina, 4-0-2 in its last six games.
Marty Reasoner scored twice for the Panthers, 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. David Booth had the other Florida goal. Tomas Vokoun, who was pulled in the second period in his previous start on Wednesday, made 30 saves.
Staal scored his 20th goal of the season after a turnover in the neutral zone. He skated in the Florida end and beat Vokoun to the glove side with a wrist shot.
Staal has scored at least 20 goals in six consecutive seasons, joining Kevin Dineen and Ron Francis as the only players in team history to do it.
Cole added an insurance goal at 17:00 when he took Skinner's backhand pass in front of the net and fired a wrist shot past Vokoun.
Skinner's two goals in the second period helped Carolina overcome a 2-0 deficit.
He scored his first 1:46 into the period with a nifty move from the slot. After taking a pass from Ruutu, Skinner faked a shot before stickhandling around defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and beating Vokoun with a wrist shot.
Skinner was fortunate on his second goal. Patrick Dwyer's pass was deflected, bounced off Skinner's leg and off defenseman Dennis Wideman before floating over Vokoun's head.
Booth opened the scoring at 1:36 when he beat Peters between the legs with a wraparound. Reasoner made it 2-0 at 12:30 when he tipped in Wideman's slap shot from the point.
NOTES: Carolina is 6-1-4 in games tied after two periods. ... Carolina D Joni Pitkanen (upper body) and F Jussi Jokinen (lower body) both missed their fifth consecutive game. ... Florida LW Evgeny Dadonov returned after missing one game because of an ankle injury. ... Reasoner's goal was his first in nine games. ... Carolina recalled C Jon Matsumoto from Charlotte of the AHL and placed F Jiri Tlusty on the injured list, retroactive to Dec. 16.