Jokinen, Eric Staal lead Hurricanes past Florida with 2 goals each
Jussi Jokinen scored twice and added an assist, and Riley Nash netted his first goal as part of a three-point night in the Carolina Hurricanes' 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Eric Staal also had two goals for the Hurricanes, Jiri Tlutsy scored his 10th in 11 games, and Alexander Semin had three assists.
Carolina moved into sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division with its first win over a division opponent. The Hurricanes had been 0-5 against Southeast foes and 10-3-1 against the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Cam Ward made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who won their second straight at home. Carolina had lost six of seven against the Panthers.
Filip Kuba and Shawn Matthias scored for the Panthers, who have only two wins in 11 games.
Florida goalie Jose Theodore left the game 2:22 into the first period after he appeared to injure his right leg. Scott Clemmensen replaced him and made 27 saves.
Theodore was hurt during a 2-on-1 rush by the Hurricanes. He crumpled to the ice after he kicked out his right pad to stop Jokinen. The Panthers said Theodore, who struggled with knee trouble much of last season, sustained an undisclosed lower body injury.
Florida also lost Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) and Scottie Upshall (lower body) during the game.
Carolina got Joni Pitkanen back in the lineup Saturday after he missed seven games because of a lower body injury. But he left the game after just one period and didn't return.
The Hurricanes jumped on Clemmensen about 4 minutes after Theodore's injury, scoring three goals in 3:05.
Jokinen got things started with a quick wrist shot from the left circle that beat Clemmensen over his glove hand.
A little more than 2 minutes later, Semin found Tlutsy in the high slot for a wrist shot that caromed in off the post.
Jokinen added his second goal less than a minute later when Nash found him wide open in the slot. Jokinen's wrist shot slipped through Clemmensen's pads.
Matthias got Florida back within two goals before the end of the period, but Nash's first career goal built Carolina's lead back to three early in the second. Nash finished off a pass from Patrick Dwyer on a 2-on-1 break to make it 4-1.
Staal scored the Hurricanes' final two goals off passes from Semin.
NOTES: Carolina's Tim Brent sat out because of a lower body injury. . Panthers C Stephen Weiss was ejected in the third period after fighting Justin Faulk. Weiss was also given a penalty for elbowing on the play.
HURRICANES 6, PANTHERS 2
First Period—1, Carolina, Jokinen 3 (R.Nash, Faulk), 6:23. 2, Carolina, Tlusty 10 (Semin), 8:39. 3, Carolina, Jokinen 4 (R.Nash), 9:28. 4, Florida, Matthias 4 (Smithson, Parros), 17:41. Penalties—Smithson, Fla (hooking), 2:22.
Second Period—5, Carolina, R.Nash 1 (Dwyer, Jokinen), 5:22. 6, Carolina, E.Staal 11 (Semin), 13:03. 7, Florida, Kuba 1 (Goc, Strachan), 19:15. Penalties—Shore, Fla (holding), 15:21; Weiss, Fla (roughing), 19:52; Faulk, Car (roughing), 19:52.
Third Period—8, Carolina, E.Staal 12 (Semin), 12:01. Penalties—Weiss, Fla, served by Huberdeau, minor-major-game misconduct (elbowing, fighting), 2:09; Faulk, Car, major (fighting), 2:09; Goc, Fla (cross-checking), 9:37.
Shots on Goal—Florida 7-9-8—24. Carolina 13-10-11—34.
Power-play opportunities—Florida 0 of 0; Carolina 0 of 4.
Goalies—Florida, Theodore (1 shots-1 saves), Clemmensen 2-2-2 (2:22 first, 33-27). Carolina, Ward 8-6-1 (24-22).
A—18,680 (18,680). T—2:28.
Referees—Francis Charron, Brad Meier. Linesmen—Michel Cormier, Mike Cvik.