Hurricane Cory Stillman (61) celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers' Jason Garrison (52) and Hugh Jessiman (28) during the first period. CHRIS SEWARD - email@example.com
RALEIGH — Forward Cory Stillman had a goal and an assist against his former team and the Carolina Hurricanes hung on to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 at RBC Center Tuesday.
In the first period, Stillman scored when linemate Erik Cole broke away and was brought to his knees with Florida's Darcy Hordichuk in pursuit. Cole, sliding towards the end boards, still managed to pass the puck to the slot, where Stillman sent it five-hole at 5:25.
Stillman, in his third game with the Canes since being traded by the Panthers, has scored in consecutive contests.
But it was a frantic end to a game, and the Panthers brought an extra attacker late. Florida outshot Carolina 42-22, requiring Carolina goalie Cam Ward to make some quality stops among his 41 saves.
While the Hurricanes barely held on, the Hurricanes did convert one of their two power play chances.
Stillman was also brought here to help the Hurricanes struggling power play, which entered the game with two goals in the last 38 chances.
On the Canes' first man-advantage in the first period, Stillman sent a slap pass from the top of the right circle to the back door of Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, where All-Star captain Eric Staal was waiting to knock in what turned out to be the game winner at 14:55.
Panthers wing David Booth wrapped a pass around to the front of the net for center Stephen Weiss, who wristed the puck at 3:58 in the second period, and the Panthers controlled much of the game from then on, even if they failed to score again.
The Hurricanes (30-25-9) were desperately trying to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and, with Staal is back in the lineup after missing one game with an upper body injury, they did stay two points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres, who beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in other Tuesday NHL action.
The Canes will next face the Sabres at the RBC Center Thursday.
The Panthers (26-30-7) are in rebuild mode after trading several players away before or at the trade deadline including Stillman and defenseman Bryan Allen, who was traded Monday for former Hurricanes forward Sergei Samsonov.