Panthers Vs. Hurricanes: 'Canes Win Fourth Straight In 3-1 Win

Mar 18, 2012; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes celebrate a goal by Carolina Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose (59) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. Carolina wins 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

Florida Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim may have mocked the Carolina Hurricanes with a golf swing Wednesday, but the latter is closer to the playoffs than ever before.

The Hurricanes won their fourth straight game in a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Wednesday.

Eric Staal scored twice for Carolina, who is now on its longest winning streak of the season. Joni Pitkanen, playing for the first time since December, added the other goal and also had an assist.

Florida had their own five-game streak snapped and with it the chance to put the final nail in the Washington Capitals' coffin in regards to their chase for the Southeast Division. The Panthers are five points ahead of the Caps.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are only five points behind the Caps for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The next three weeks could decide whether or not the Hurricanes will heed Bergenheim's advice.

See the full NHL scoreboard.

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