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Tlusty, Khudobin lead Hurricanes past Panthers
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jiri Tlusty tallied twice and Anton Khudobin posted a 35-save shutout, as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Florida Panthers, 3-0, on Thursday at BB&T Center.
Jeff Skinner scored Carolina's other goal, while Khudobin completed his first whitewash of the season and third of his career with a 12-save third period.
"It's always good when you didn't get scored on in a game obviously," Khudobin said. "We just got the (win), that's the most important thing."
Roberto Luongo started in net for Florida and stopped 11-of-12 shots in the first period, but the veteran netminder was forced to leave the contest prior to the start of the second after being run over by Carolina's Radek Dvorak with just over seven minutes left in the opening frame.
Dan Ellis recorded 18 saves in relief for the Panthers, who have lost four of their last five games.
"It's never a fun situation because you know your partner, something might not be good with him," Ellis said of coming on in relief of an injured Luongo. "But that's the job and you have to be ready when they call you."
Tlusty got Carolina on the board 9:09 into the game, as a 2-on-1 rush saw Eric Staal send a cross-ice feed to the right circle for Tlusty, who waited for Luongo to drop before lifting the disc over the prone netminder for a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers had a prime opportunity to break through late in the frame after Dvorak was assessed a charging major and a game misconduct for barreling through Luongo on a shot attempt from the low right side.
"I made the shot and then like I said I was driving like 100 miles per hour to the net and then I got a little push and then next thing I knew I was in the net with (Luongo)," Dvorak recalled. "It was not intentional at all. That's not my style."
However, Florida failed to cash in on the extended man-advantage, and Luongo was unable to return to the contest following the first intermission.
The goalie change didn't seem to matter to Tlusty, who scored his second of the night 2:30 into the second when he picked up a blocked shot on the low left side and rifled the puck past a sprawling Ellis.
Skinner scored just over three minutes later, pounding home a rebound from the low right side off an odd-man rush to make it 3-0 at 5:46.
Khudobin kept the margin there by stopping 26 shots over the final 40 minutes.
Florida finished 0-for-3 on the power play ... Staal recorded his 39th assist of the season ... Luongo left the game with an upper-body injury.
03/27 23:05:13 ET