SUNRISE, Fla. — Sebastian Aho scored two short-handed goals and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Thursday night. Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Martinook also scored, Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves, and Martin Necas had three assists. The Hurricanes have won six consecutive games against the Panthers this season. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for Florida, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots. The Panthers lost for the first time at home in eight games. The teams will finish the two-game set Saturday. Trailing 3-2, the Panthers were on a 6-on-4 power play in the final minute, but Aho’s empty-net goal made it 4-2 with 15.2 left. Barkov’s second goal came during a 5-on-3 power play. Barkov’s shot from the slot beat Nedeljkovic with 7:58 left in the third to cut it to 3-2. Aho scored his first short-handed goal to stretch the Hurricanes' lead to 3-1. The Panthers turned the puck over at their blue line and Carolina got behind the defence and took advantage of a two-on-none, passing back and forth between Necas and Aho as the skated in. Aho put the puck into an open net with 1:52 left in the second. Niederreiter’s power-play goal gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead with 8:51 left in the second. Barkov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead when his shot from the right circle bounced off the post and crossed the goal line at 6:22 of the first. Martinook tied it 14 seconds into the second when he poked in a rebound from in front that bounced off the skate of a defenceman and into the net. MILESTONE Florida's Keith Yandle played his 914th consecutive NHL game, tying Garry Unger for second-most consecutive NHL history. ATTENDANCE The Panthers cap attendance at 25% of capacity. 4,683 were at Thursday’s game. Paul Gereffi, The Associated Press
First place in the Central Division was on the line as both teams come into the game with 65 points.
Skjei was injured Tuesday against Tampa Bay after a hit from behind from Blake Coleman of the Lightning.