Panthers 5, Hurricanes 1: Reigning Lady Byng Trophy winner Brian Campbell netted a pair of power-play goals and Jose Theodore turned aside 41 shots as host Florida scored four times in the first period to breeze past Carolina.
Jonathan Huberdeau collected his first career goal and set up two others in his NHL debut. Veteran Alex Kovalev accomplished the same in his 1,303rd career game as the Panthers were victorious after hoisting the banner to commemorate last season's Southeast Division title.
After the 19-year-old Huberdeau opened the scoring on a one-timer 3:37 into the first period, Campbell doubled the advantage just over three minutes later with a slap shot over the shoulder of Cam Ward.
Campbell kept the pressure on during a 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period. His blast beat Ward to give Florida a 3-0 advantage before Huberdeau set up Scottie Upshall just 40 seconds later to whip the BB&T Center into a frenzy.
Patrick Dwyer scored on a delayed penalty midway through the second period for the Hurricanes, who owned a 42-25 edge in shots.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Ward stopped eight shots before being pulled to start the second in favor of Dan Ellis (12 saves), who promptly permitted Kovalev's goal just 3:35 into the period. ... Florida's Kris Versteeg left Saturday's morning skate with an hip injury. Versteeg was scratched from the contest and replaced on the first line by Mike Santorelli. ... Upshall recorded just two goals all of last season.