Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2
Jordan Staal scored twice and Nino Niederreiter beat Juuse Saros for the go-ahead goal early in the third period, helping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators in the first game of the teams' first-round playoff series.
Panthers avoid elimination, beat Islanders 3-2 in Game 3
The 10th-seeded Panthers trail the best-of-five series 2-1 with Game 4 at the NHL's Eastern Conference hub city of Toronto on Friday. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson, with 1:27 remaining, scored for the Islanders, the East's seventh seed. The Panthers scored first for the second straight game, with Haulas power-play goal 4:02 into the second period. NOTES: The game was Panthers first as the home team since 4-1 win against Montreal at Florida on March 7. The Islanders made no lineup changes from Game 2, while Panthers D Mike Matheson was scratched after picking up four of the Panthers 10 minor penalties this series.
Mike Hoffman not thinking about free agency, focused on postseason with Panthers
Hoffman, who led the Panthers with 29 goals this season, is coming off two stellar years with Florida in which he racked up 129 points (65-64-129) in 151 games. When free agency opens sometime in mid-October, Hoffman is expected to be one of the most coveted scorers on the market, and that could place him out of Florida's price range. Depending on what Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon has planned for free agency, it could be difficult for Hoffman to find his way back to the Cats. Huberdeau was slid down to the second line, uniting Hoffman and center Erik Haula. "I think it's going to be great," Hoffman said of the line.