The Carolina Hurricanes scored early and often as they dominated the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, 7-2. The Canes were shutout in their previous two home contests but made up for that in this game as they scored three times in the first period and twice each in the second and third.
Joe Corvo scored his second goal of the season about half way through the first period to get things going. Jeff Skinner and Chad LaRose picked up the assists on the play. It was Corvo's second consecutive goal as he scored near the end of the Flyers game as well.
Jon Matsumoto would follow that one up about five minutes later with his first career NHL goal. It didn't take the young centerman long, he just played in his first NHL game against the Flyers on Monday night. Sergei Samsonov set up the play as he circled the front of the net, then fed it to the crease where Matsumoto was ready as he knocked it in.
Eric Staal closed out the scoring in the period as he blistered a one-timer from the high slot area. Again, Samsonov had the assist and the perfect pass. The period ended at 3-0 Canes, and it could have been worse.
About midway through the second period, Brandon Sutter would score his first goal since the Finland trip as he took a loose puck from Rick DiPietro, and tipped it in the net. DiPietro had a rough night overall and coughed that puck up as Jiri Tlusty was pestering him a bit along the side of the net.
Less than a minute later, Tlusty would get his own goal - his first of the year and first since last December - on a shot that beat the Islanders goalie after Sutter was knocked into him. The second period ended with the score, Hurricanes 5, Islanders 0.
Cam Ward lost his shutout bid when Doug Weight set up Michael Grabner two minutes and change into the third period, but Jeff Skinner would answer with a powerplay tally as Staal fed him a nice pass to the front of the net. DiPietro stopped the first attempt, but Skinner stuck with it and tipped in the rebound.
The Islanders would score a powerplay goal later in the period to make the score 6-2, but Matsumoto finished things off with yet another goal with just 34 seconds left. Samsonov once again earned the assist, giving him three for the night. So much for being "demoted" to the fourth line.
With all the scoring, it's tough to say that the highlight of the evening might have been when the Canes killed off over a minute of a New York 5-on-3 advantage. Anton Babchuk, Tim Gleason, and Brandon Sutter each blocked a shot or two and Cam Ward made some nice stops as the crowd gave the penalty killers a standing ovation.
Next up for Carolina is a date with the Florida Panthers on Friday night for the first of a home and home matchup.
Quick Hits and Stats:
- Six different players scored and 11 players had points as the Canes broke out in a big way. Will the scoring carry forward to the next few games? Paul Maurice said that the confidence gained by scoring goals could pay dividends in the future.
- The team had 14 blocked shots, led by Tim Gleason with 3 and Jay Harrison with 2.
- Jay Harrison dropped the gloves with Zenon Konopka, a heavyweight who already had six fighting majors in just 11 games. He is number one in the NHL for total penalty minutes and for fighting majors, but Harrison held his own.
- Joni Pitkanen re-injured himself and left after the first period. He will be looked at on Thursday.
- The Canes won 41% of their faceoffs: Staal, 28%, (5 of 18), Ruutu, 22%, (2 of 9), Sutter, 53%, (8 of 15), and Matsumoto 59%, (10 of 17). Forget the goals, Matsumoto will earn a permanent spot on this team if he can continue winning faceoffs like that.
- Matsumoto and Tlusty led the team with 4 shots on goal each. The Canes had a total of 32.
- Cam Ward did not really seem pressed very much but looked to be in excellent position most of the night as he stopped 31 of 33 New York shots.
- Ruutu and Harrison led Carolina with 3 hits each.
- Ruutu, Jokinen, and Cole somehow ended up at (-1) for the night, but all the lines seemed to be clicking and each of them had good chances.
- For the first time in a long time, the fourth line got double digit minutes. Not counting the injured Pitkanen, Matsumoto had a team low 11:06 of playing time.
Here are a few post game interviews:
Coach Paul Maurice