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Hurricanes eyeing third straight win vs. rival Panthers

Florida (26-19-8) at Carolina (27-22-5), 7:00 pm EST

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Carolina Hurricanes will

seek their third consecutive victory when they host the Florida

Panthers on Thursday.

The Hurricanes, who have won six of their last eight contests,

can overtake the Panthers for eighth place in the Eastern

Conference playoff race as they enter trailing their Southeast

Division rival by one point.

Sergei Samsonov recorded a power-play goal and three assists and

Tuomo Ruutu netted two tallies and set up another Saturday as

Carolina cruised to a 7-2 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes.

"We had a little meeting before the game and we tried to do the

simple things on the power play," Samsonov said. "Take shots

when they are there, create some movement and go to the net

hard. We got some confidence early, and that got us going."

All-Star Eric Staal and Matt Cullen each scored a power-play

goal, Patrick Eaves also tallied and Chad LaRose added a

shorthander for Carolina, which went 4-for-5 with the man

advantage.

The Panthers are coming off an emotional win on Tuesday.

Exactly one year after having his throat lacerated by a

teammate's skate, Richard Zednik netted a pair of goals -

including the winner early in overtime - as Florida Panthers

rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brett McLean, Nathan Horton and Ville Peltonen also scored for

the Panthers, who overcame a three-goal deficit in the third

period.

Cory Stillman, Kamil Kreps and defenseman Nick Boynton collected

two assists apiece and Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves for Florida,

which has won six of its last eight contests.

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