Whitney helps ‘Canes’ playoff hopes with OT goal in 4-3 win over Panthers

Florida blew a two-goal lead in the third period and lost for the sixth time in seven games to the Hurricanes, and damaged its playoff hopes. The Panthers have 83 points with three games left.

Carolina, which is close to becoming only the third defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the playoffs the following year, pulled within four points of eighth-place Montreal. The 1970 Montreal Canadiens and the 1996 New Jersey Devils were the other two teams to not qualify for the playoffs the season after winning it all.

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The Panthers got two first-period goals from Jozef Stumpel but couldn’t hold off Carolina late as Chad LaRose tied the game at 3-3 at the 16:35 of the third period. That score followed a short-handed goal by Rod Brind’Amour four minutes earlier.