The Carolina Hurricanes thrilled a sellout crowd last night in Raleigh with a 6-4 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the first time they had won their season opener at home since defeating the NY Rangers 3-1 on October 5th, 2001.
Newcomers Joni Pitkanen and Dan LaCouture each scored in their debuts, with LaCoutureâ€™s tally at 3:32 of the third proved to be the game winner.
After the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 1st period lead, it looked as if it might be another repeat of the nightmare that happened in the Hurricanes final game of last season, a crushing 4-3 defeat the would knock the Hurricanes out of the playoffs and put coach Peter Laviolette on the hot seat.
The Hurricanes got a spark on a power play goal by Tuomo Ruutu and later tied the game on a nifty goal from Ray Whitney, who walked the kept the puck on a string in the slot before wristing it past Panthers starter Tomas Vokoun.
The Canes took the lead early in 2nd period on goals from captain Rod Brindâ€™Amour and Pitkanen, who came to the Canes in an offseason for trade for fan favorite Erik Cole.
The Hurricanes return to the ice tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition to it being Tampaâ€™s opening night, it will be the return of Barry Melrose to behind an NHL bench. The game will be on Fox Sports South.
Below are the highlights of the game and pictures greensborosports.com took during the pre-game workouts.