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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, February 7th (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (22-28-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-21-9), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will play their final game on Friday night before the Olympic break as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Panthers have lost four of their last five games, including a 3-1 setback to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. Scottie Upshall had a late goal in the first period, but it was all Red Wings from there.

Tim Thomas made 30 saves and Tomas Kopecky notched the 100th assist of his career when he sprung Upshall for a breakaway after the latter finished up serving a slashing penalty and jumped out of the box.

Upshall scored with 26 seconds left, but it was one of only two shots in the period for the Panthers and they had just six in the second one game after notching a season-high 48 shots in Tuesday's win over Toronto.

"They out-worked us," Panthers head coach Peter Horachek said. "Simple as that."

The Hurricanes also picked up a loss last time out, falling 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Carolina had won five of six going in and saw a three-game winning streak at home snapped.

Riley Nash scored the only goal of the game for the Hurricanes and Anton Khudobin made 25 saves in defeat.

"It was a good hockey team and both teams played well," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "We played our game plan, they just played theirs a little better."

Carolina is five points back of Detroit for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and will host Montreal on Saturday to wrap up a four-game homestand.

The Hurricanes have lost seven of their past 11 versus the Panthers, but did notch a 3-2 home victory over them on Jan. 18. Alexander Semin scored twice, Nash had a goal and Eric Staal notched a pair of assists to support 37 saves by Khudobin.

Marcel Goc and Dmitry Kulikov had the goals for the Panthers, while Thomas made 36 stops.

Florida lost for the third time in its past four trips to Carolina.

02/07 10:45:11 ET