SUNRISE — The Panthers welcomed the Carolina Hurricanes back to Sunrise for the first time since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Carolina did not leave town happy then and were not too thrilled after this one, either.
Although the stakes were significantly lower, the Panthers scored three unanswered goals and ran off with a 5-2 win over the Hurricanes.
Counting the four-game sweep in the ECF and Florida has won five consecutive games over Carolina.
The Panthers go into Sunday’s game with the Blackhawks having won three straight games — since losing in Chicago last Saturday — and are 5-1 in Sunrise.
Florida did not get their first winning streak last season until just before the All-Star break.
On Friday night, Carolina took a 1-0 lead on a double-rebound goal from Jesperi Kotkaniemi just 80 seconds in.
Florida ended up scoring the next three goals — with Matthew Tkachuk playing a big part in two of them.
Tkachuk tied the score at 1 when he took a pass from Carter Verhaeghe, weaved to the net and beat Antti Raanta.
Uvis Balinskis made it 2-1 with his first NHL goal as he sat and waited by the cage for Tkachuk to storm through the slot and feed him with a nice saucer pass.
Sasha Barkov made it 3-1 in the second by one-timing a pass from Evan Rodrigues.
Carolina trailed 3-2 going into the third after a goal from Sebastian Aho — but Carter Verhaeghe batted down a point shot from Gus Forsling and the puck found its way past Antti Raanta.
The officials originally waved off the goal — but after video review, it was obvious Verhaeghe did not use a high-stick to score.
Three minutes later, Kevin Stenlund scored into an empty net.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Hurricanes 1, Panthers 0 (1:20, 1st): Sergei Bobrovsky was under attack early as he first blocked a shot from Jordan Martinook with the rebound going to Jesper Fast. Bob blocked that one, too, only Jesperi Kotkaniemi was flying in and scored his sixth of the season.
- Panthers 1, Hurricanes 1 (3:01, 1st): Matthew Tkachuk reintroduced himself to Antti Raanta and the Canes by walking in on the Carolina goalie after Carter Verhaeghe a won puck battle around the net front. It was Tkachuk’s third goal of the season — and his fourth in five games against Carolina if you count the ECFs.
- Panthers 2, Hurricanes 1 (18:53, 1st): Uvis Balinskis made it 11 games before scoring his first NHL goal and good on him for not whiffing on a wide-open shot. As Tkachuk drove the slot, Balinskis was alone by the cage — Tkachuk saw him, passed it and Balinskis one-timed it.
- Panthers 3, Hurricanes 1 (7:08, 2nd): Sasha Barkov one-times a feed from Evan Rodrigues and gets his third goal in as many games and extends his point streak to four.
- Panthers 3, Hurricanes 2 (16:40, 2nd): Sebastian Aho found a nice rebound off a long point shot from Martinook and shoveled it in.
- Panthers 4, Hurricanes 2 (13:18, 3rd): Carter Verhaeghe swatted down a point shot from Gus Forsling and beats Raanta to give Florida its 2-goal lead back.
- Panthers 5, Hurricanes 2 (16:18, 3rd EN): Stenlund picks up his third goal of the season by throwing one into an empty net.
FHN’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida (goal, assist)
2. Carter Verhaeghe (goal, assist), Florida
3. Uvis Balinskis (1st NHL Goal), Florida
PANTHERS ON DECK
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
- Last Season: Tied 1-1
- This season (Chicago leads 1-0): @Chicago 5, Florida 2 (Nov. 4); @Florida, Sunday
- All-time regular season series: Blackhawks lead 29-18-4, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)