Raleigh, NC – Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves and the Florida Panthers scored all of their goals in the third period to escape PNC Arena with a surprising 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc and Shawn Matthias each scored in the final 12:21 to help the league-worst Panthers snap a six-game slide, with Jerred Smithson adding an empty-net goal in the win.
Dan Ellis' 40 saves went for naught as the Hurricanes went 0-for-3 on the power play en route to a season-high fourth straight loss.
"They outworked us, that's all it comes down to," said Ellis, whose club fell two points behind the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets. "They created havoc and they executed."
Jordan Staal spoiled Markstrom's shutout bid with 2:33 left in the game, but the damage had already been done.
Ellis' terrific performance came undone in the early stages of the third after Carolina defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti turned the puck over behind the net. Tomas Kopecky forced the giveaway and sent a backhander to Fleischmann on the right doorstep to break the scoreless tie at the 7:39 mark.
Goc scored 32 seconds into a two-man advantage with 7:13 remaining, and Matthias, who was battling the flu, put in a rebound with Florida still a man up 1:04 later.
"I couldn't let my teammates go out there without me, I wanted to battle with them and end this slump and it feels good to have the win," Matthias said. "I don't care how bad I feel, it feels good right now."
After Staal ended the possibility of Markstrom's first career whitewash, Smithson sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Both goaltenders were peppered with 17 shots in the opening period and turned each one away. Carolina failed to score on the only power play of the first stanza, then came up empty in the second on a four-minute advantage stemming from a Scottie Upshall high stick that cut the face of Tim Gleason.
The Panthers also had their chances in the middle period, squandering a late 4-on-3 edge and blowing two breakaways. Fleischmann shot high and wide early on for the first, and Ellis later made a nifty kick save on Goc.
The Southeast Division foes split their four-game season series ... Carolina is just 3-8-0 against division opponents this season ... Florida, which had lost four straight on the road, opened a five-game trek Tuesday ... The Panthers were 2-for-3 on the power play.