Raleigh, NC -- The Carolina Hurricanes (17-6-1, 35 pts) defeated the Florida Panthers (15-5-4, 34 pts) 4-2 as the Hurricanes extended their current winning streak to five games.
Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist for Carolina. Warren Foegele, Nino Niederreiter, and Vincent Trocheck also scored for the Canes.
MacKenzie Weegar and Mason Marchment scored for Florida.
Carolina forward Vincent Trocheck opened the scoring at 15:55 of the 1st period with his sixth powerplay goal. Trocheck, who leads the Canes in goals (13), scored another goal against the team who traded him to Carolina one year ago.
"We did a good job of winning the draw, obviously Jordan's been great all year on faceoffs, especially on the powerplay. We fought to get possession, and then a great pass down low by [Svechnikov]," Trocheck said.
Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour was asked what has been behind Trocheck's success this season.
"He's got a lot of confidence, and he's a really good player. He's figured out how he needs to play, and he's found a home. It's no different than any other job. When you're feeling really good about yourself, you have success," Brind'Amour said.
The Canes extended their lead further as Nino Niederreiter scored his eleventh of the season on a two-on-one break. Niederreiter took a feed from Martin Necas and fired a wrist shot past Driedger.
Later in the 2nd period, Florida pulled within one after MacKenzie Weegar fired home a slap shot following a faceoff in the Carolina zone.
The Panthers were poised to even the score at the start of the 3rd after Trocheck took a hooking penalty late in the 2nd.
But it wasn't to be for the Panthers.
With the Florida powerplay winding down, Jaccob Slavin found Jordan Martinook with a beautiful stretch pass that created another two-on-one for the Canes.
Martinook slid a pass to Aho, who got his first shorthanded goal of the year and his 10th since the start of the 2018-19 season (the most by any NHL player).
"It was just a heads-up play from Slavin, seeing us [up the ice]. Same thing from [Martinook], [he] found me there with a nice backhand pass. I'm happy it went in," Aho said.
Warren Foegele added a fourth goal for Carolina about three minutes later.
Florida got one back when Mason Marchment scored at 9:09 of the 3rd. But the Panthers were unable to pull any closer, despite pulling Driedger and having the benefit of a late powerplay.
Aho took 1st-star honors and praised the return of fans to PNC Arena.
"Sports should be played in front of fans, that's just a fact. I just can't wait to see every seat full, [the crowd here] is the best in the league."
Brind'Amour noted that a few days off for his team likely helped his team bring a solid effort on the ice.
"Did [the time off] help? Maybe. We weren't great, but we certainly were good. And we were good throughout the whole game, and that's what was positive."
James Reimer (11-3-0, .903 SV%, 2.80 GAA) made 21 saves on the way to his third-straight win.
Jordan Martinook, Brock McGinn, Martin Necas, Andrei Svechnikov, Dougie Hamilton, and Jaccob Slavin each recorded one assist for the Canes.
Sebastian Aho and Brett Pesce were both plus-3 on the night.
Noel Acciari, Aleksander Barkov, and Jonathan Huberdeau each had one assist for the Panthers.
Teuvo Teravainen was a late scratch for Carolina (concussion symptoms).
Driedger made 22 saves on 26 shots faced; he's now winless in three-straight starts for the Panthers.
Carolina: The Hurricanes host the Nashville Predators on Thursday at 7:00pm ET.
Florida: The Panthers travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night at 7:00pm ET.