Panthers 5, Hurricanes 1
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Pavel Bure and Scott Mellanby scored power-play goals to lead the Florida Panthers to their fifth win in six games, 5-1 over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
The first-place Panthers opened up a 14-point lead over second-place Carolina in the Southeast Division and snapped a seven-game winless streak against the Hurricanes (0-3-4).
Bure, who notched his 30th goal along with an assist, has nine goals and five assists in his last six games.
Mellanby’s power-play goal at 4:03 of the second period gave Florida a 2-1 lead. Bure’s pinpoint wrist shot from the blue line was redirected by Mellanby, who recorded his 11th goal of the season and 600th point (267 goals, 333 assists) in 15 NHL seasons.
Viktor Kozlov received the first of two assists, giving him 30 for the season.
Florida broke open a 2-1 game in the third period with three goals within 4:31. Rob Niedermayer, Ray Whitney and Ryan Johnson all scored even-strength goals. Mellanby added an assist on Niedermayer’s goal.
Mike Vernon had 30 saves, including two sprawling stops against Andrei Kovalenko during a Hurricanes’ power play in the closing seconds of the second period to preserve Florida’s 2-1 lead.
Carolina also scored a power-play goal when Paul Coffey swatted in a rebound of Jeff O’Neill’s shot from the point. It was Coffey’s fourth goal of the season and 389th of his career.
Bure opened the scoring in the first period, when he took Robert Svehla’s breakout pass, faked a slap shot and slipped a wrist shot past Arturs Irbe. Irbe (3-1-4) lost his first career decision to Florida.