Gary Roberts and Olli Jokinen each scored twice to help the Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 Wednesday night, keeping the defending Stanley Cup champions winless this season. Florida, which beat Boston 8-3 in its opener, has scored a franchise-best 14 goals in its first two home games. The Panthers’ previous high was 10 in 1995-96. Florida has one goal in two road games.
“If I knew the answer to (why), we would be scoring more on the road,” said Panthers centre Stephen Weiss, who had a goal and two assists. “We’re definitely playing well at home, if we can get our road game going it will be more points for us.”
Martin Gelinas also scored for Florida, and Jokinen and Todd Bertuzzi each had two assists.
Eric Belanger, Scott Walker and Andrew Hutchinson scored for Carolina (0-3-1), which has been outscored 18-7 this season. The Hurricanes’ longest winless streak last season was four games.
“We know we’ve got to get in the win column and turn this thing around,” Hurricanes defenceman Bret Hedican said. “And we’ve got to start as soon as possible.”
Alexander Auld stopped 32 shots for Florida. John Grahame, making his first start for Carolina, had 26 saves.
“It was an exciting night,” said Grahame, who was signed as a free agent in July. “I was looking forward to getting in there and helping the team. My team’s fighting it a little bit and the goalie needs to come up big. It was a good opportunity for me and I think I let everybody down.”
Roberts opened the scoring at 8:09 of the first period when he beat Grahame with a wrist shot over his left shoulder.
Jokinen gave Florida a 3-1 lead with the Panthers’ first short-handed goal of the season at 17:01 of the second. Jokinen easily skated around centre Eric Staal to beat him 1-on-1 before flipping the puck over a diving Grahame.
“In the second period we started shooting the puck and guys were going to the net,” Jokinen said. “We got 18 shots in the second period. That was the turning point in the game.”
Walker cut the lead to 3-2 at 18:30 with a slap shot that beat Auld over his right pad.
Roberts’ second goal came with 10.4 seconds left in the second period and push Florida’s advantage to 4-2.
“Anytime you can score late in the period it’s a big boost,” Roberts said. “Olli made a great play in the corner and I just got enough on it.”
Jokinen made it 5-2 at 1:14 of the third when he beat Grahame to the short side with a long slap shot.
“I thought there were some people that gave good skating efforts, but again I’d have to say they skated probably better than we did,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said “And it’s a skating game right now.
“We need to get better.”
Carolina went 1-for-8 on the power play, making the Hurricanes 3-for-27 on the season.
“I don’t know that the game was a 6-2 game or 5-2 game,” Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour said. “It was pretty evenly matched. We were both getting chances. They just scored on theirs and we didn’t and our power play wasn’t very good, and that’s the difference.”
Notes: Florida C Joe Nieuwendyk missed the game because of a leg injury he sustained Monday night at Toronto. … Florida recalled RW Greg Jacine from Rochester of the AHL. … This was the second game of Carolina’s season-high seven-game road trip. The Hurricanes began the trip with a 5-2 loss at Washington Saturday. … Carolina went 1-for-8 on the power play, making the Hurricanes 3-for-27 on the season.