The Hurricanes fell behind 3-0 through the first period but then stormed back to win for the third time in five games.
Carolina goaltender Cam Ward gave up two goals on five shots in the first 1:42 of the contest and was replaced by Justin Peters. Peters gave up a power-play goal to Bryan McCabe, and then closed the door through the final two periods.
Erik Cole delivered the only goal of the second period for the Hurricanes and Jamie McBain brought them within one by scoring his first in 28 games this season.
Ruutu then delivered the late-game heroics, scoring on the power play with 7:40 to play and giving Carolina the win 88 seconds later with a wrist shot that eluded Tomas Vokoun.
Vokoun, who made 30 saves, misplayed the puck in front his net right to Ruutu to set up the deciding goal.
Florida had lost seven out of 11.