RALEIGH, N.C. -- Alexander Semin often has been criticized for not shooting enough or scoring enough for the Carolina Hurricanes this season.
In fact, Canes general manager Jim Rutherford was the forward's most recent critic.
Semin responded Saturday with a pair of third-period goals as the Canes topped the Florida Panthers, 3-2, at PNC Arena, ending a two-game losing streak.
Riley Nash also scored for the Canes, who got another 37 saves and a strong effort in net from goalie Anton Khudobin and weren't lacking jump or energy after having four days between games. But Semin was the one who stole the spotlight this night.
Rutherford, in a televison interview Friday with WTVD, said the Canes were disappointed in Semin's production and said the Russian winger was being paid -- Semin has a $7 million annual salary -- to score goals and put up points.
Semin scored his first goal early in the third, after a clean faceoff win by Eric Staal, who assisted on both Semin scores. Semin didn't hesitate, ripping a shot past Panthers goalie Tim Thomas, who had 36 saves.
Semin's second goal was the Canes' ninth shorthanded score of the season. Taking a stretch pass from Staal, Semin was off on a breakaway and beat Thomas for a 3-1 lead.
But the Panthers kept battling. Dmitry Kulikov's goal with 5:39 left in regulation pulled Florida within 3-2.
Through two periods and into the third, it was a tight, tense game between two former Southeast Division rivals.
When Nash scored in the second period, it ended a scoreless span of almost 145 minutes for the Canes. The goal came from the fourth line, and the Canes appeared both happy and relieved to see a puck go in the net after being shut out the past two games by Columbus and then Calgary.
Thomas kept it a scoreless game in the first, moving quickly and decisively in net for the Panthers. The Canes had back-to-back power plays and several good scoring chances, but Thomas made save after save.
Nash scored after Radek Dvorak made a nice play to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Dvorak got off a shot and Nash outfought defenseman Tom Gilbert in front to backhand the puck past Thomas as Dvorak earned his first point in 19 games.
The Panthers began the second period with power-play time, but couldn't score, then had a four-minute power play when Dvorak was called for high-sticking. But Florida, last in the NHL in power-play percentage, could not covert.
The Panthers tied it at even strength late in the second on Marcel Goc's goal. Jonathan Huberdeau curled a pass in front to Goc, who had inside position on defenseman Jay Harrison and beat Khudobin.
The Panthers also were shut out in their last game, losing 3-0 Thursday to the San Jose Sharks. Goc's goal was his ninth and made it a 1-1 game.
The Canes will be back on the PNC Arena ice again Sunday to face the Tampa Bay Lightning to finish off the back-to-back set.
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