RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It looks as if Alexander Semin got the message.
Semin scored two goals in the third period to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
It was Semin’s first two-goal game with Carolina, which signed the Russian forward in July 2012, and then gave him a $35 million, five-year extension last March. His seventh and eighth goals of the season came a day after general manager Jim Rutherford told a local TV station that he was disappointed in Semin’s production.
“He’s one of the best talents in the world, and when he plays hard, he’s one of my favorite players to watch,” teammate Riley Nash said. “It’s a real treat to watch him, especially the way he played tonight.”
Semin has been criticized for not playing hard at times, but he had eight shots against Florida and finished with a plus-two rating.
Semin rarely speaks with the media and declined to talk once again after the victory over the Panthers.
The teams were tied at one until Semin took control of a faceoff win by Eric Staal and shot past Tim Thomas at 2:31 of the third. He then scored Carolina’s league-leading ninth short-handed goal on a breakaway at 8:57, also on an assist from Staal.
The Hurricanes ended a two-game skid and improved to 6-2 in their last eight.
The Panthers got a goal from Dmitry Kulikov with 5:39 remaining but Anton Khudobin held on from there, finishing with 37 saves in the win.
Florida went 0 for 5 on the power play while falling to 7-29-4 at Carolina’s arena.
Nash broke a seven-period scoring drought for the Hurricanes at 3:37 of the second. Radek Dvorak speared the puck when it appeared headed out of the offensive zone and fired toward the net. Nash kicked it to his stick and scored past Thomas.
Marcel Goc scored his ninth of the season for Florida at 15:05 of the second, tying it at 1. Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Kopecky assisted.
“It’s 1-1 in the third, and we have to get points in those games,” Florida coach Peter Horachek said. “We created chances to score that we’ve got to bear down on.”
Khudobin improved to 7-2 this season. Thomas had 36 saves for Florida.
The Hurricanes put pressure on Thomas midway through the first period, but the veteran turned away eight shots in four minutes after penalties to Huberdeau at 6:22 and Ed Jovanovski at 8:27.
Florida continued to be hindered by its punchless power play. The Panthers failed to convert on 10 power-play minutes Saturday and are 0 for 32 on the man advantage since Dec. 28.
The Panthers failed to score in the second after Kopecky drew a double-minor on Dvorak. During the man advantage, Tomas Fleischmann fanned on one solid scoring chance and Kulikov hit the left post.
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