SUNRISE, Fla. – Nobody seemed sure how Florida scored its winning goal Monday night. That hardly mattered to the Panthers.
Gregory Campbell’s goal snapped a tie late in the second period and sent Florida to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Ville Peltonen initially was credited with the decisive goal, but a scoring change after the game gave it to Campbell.
“I think that one might have gone off of (Campbell), so give the credit to (him),” Peltonen said. “It was a good screen.”
Peltonen’s wrist shot through traffic found its way past Carolina goalie Michael Leighton to snap a 2-all tie at 17:47 of the second period.
“Two guys kind of crossed in front of me and I didn’t know he was going to shoot it,” Leighton said. “By the time I could see it, the puck was already halfway behind me. My (defenceman) said it went off him.”
The Panthers made it stand up with a strong defensive effort in the third period, when Carolina managed only seven shots on goal. Florida had five shots during the period.
“There wasn’t a lot of clean opportunities on either side,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought it was pretty tight-checking.”
The scoring change cost Peltonen the second two-goal game of his career.
He scored in the first period to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. It was his second goal in two games after being shut out in Florida’s first 18.
“There’s an old saying,” Peltonen said. “When you find yourself in a deep hole the first thing you have to do is stop digging. Start again, start fresh. It’s a mental thing in those situations. You’ve got to keep working. It’s not easy, but it’s pretty simple.”
David Booth also scored and Tomas Vokoun made 27 saves for the Panthers, who stopped a two-game skid as they opened a three-game homestand.
Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose scored for the Hurricanes, who were coming off a loss to Nashville on Sunday that ended a three-game winning streak.
“It’s one of those games where we felt like we had the play but we just didn’t generate enough scoring chances,” Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour said. “The effort is fine, but we’ve got to get results.”
Leighton, starting in place of Cam Ward, made 19 saves.
“I think we outplayed them,” Leighton said. “We didn’t give them a lot of chances. I think we outworked them, we just didn’t get the results. It’s disappointing.”
Peltonen gave Florida a 2-0 lead at 15:45 of the first period. He poked home a loose puck after Leighton stopped Radek Dvorak’s slap shot from the side.
Peltonen scored his first goal of the season in Florida’s previous game, a 4-2 loss at Boston on Friday.
Booth, celebrating his 24th birthday, opened the scoring at 7:04 when he beat Leighton to the stick side with a low wrist shot from the off wing.
The goal was the sixth in the last seven games for Booth, who leads the Panthers with 10.
“It was good to get a good start to help the team out,” he said. “I’m just glad we got the win.”
Carolina erased the two-goal deficit in the first 2:13 of the second period.
Both goals came off rebounds. Ruutu scored 25 seconds into the period and LaRose followed at 2:13.
Carolina outshot Florida 7-0 in the first 3 minutes of the second and almost took the lead when Joni Pitkanen’s wrist shot caromed off the right post.
“The second period was a good period by us,” LaRose said. “We tried to duplicate it in the third and if we had, we would have won the game.”
Notes: Florida RW Richard Zednik left in the second period with a left arm injury and did not return. He is expected to miss a few weeks, coach Pete DeBoer said. Zednik was hurt when he was checked into the boards by Carolina D Josef Melichar. … Florida D Bryan McCabe had his six-game point streak snapped. … Nathan Horton’s assist on Booth’s goal was the 100th of his career. … Carolina D Tim Gleason (lower body) and RW Patrick Eaves (upper body) missed the game after sustaining injuries Sunday against Nashville. … Florida D Jassen Cullimore returned after missing one game because of a knee injury. … Florida D Nick Boynton sat out with a concussion.