Nines were wild for the Carolina Hurricanes last night as they dominated and embarrassed the New York Islanders, 9-0. The win was the ninth straight for the Canes, which tied a franchise record set back in 2005-06. Cam Ward earned his sixth shutout of the season, a personal best, along with his 39th win of the season, which also set a new franchise record.
The Hurricanes had control of this game from beginning to end. They out-shot the Islanders 57-12, including 23-2 in the second period. Eric Staal had a hat-trick, Erik Cole and Anton Babchuk each had four assists, Tuomo Ruutu scored twice, and Dennis Seidenberg had three assists to lead the home team to victory.
The Canes never stopped skating and never stopped attacking throughout the whole affair, but they also were never met with much resistance from the New Yorkers, who did not seem to take much interest in the game at all. They did try to goon it up a bit, but even that strategy did nothing to slow down the Canes.
Dwight Helminen got credit for the first goal of the game, as he got a stick on a blast from Dennis Seidenberg. (The goal was originally given to the defenseman).
Erik Cole had the primary assist on all three Eric Staal goals. These two seem to be working in perfect unison right now. Staal has 39 goals and admitted that he would love to get number 40. "It's a nice milestone" he said.
He also stated that the team was playing like a "well oiled machine". I doubt anyone would argue with him about that. The Canes are an unbelievable 18-4-2 in their last 24 games.
Tuomo Ruutu scored two powerplay goals in the third period, both on rebounds from shots by Anton Babchuk.
Jussi Jokinen set up Rod Brind'Amour's goal with a gorgeous no look pass from behind the net.
Scott Walker passed to himself to set up his goal. The puck came off the end boards right to him, and he flicked it past the goalie as he skated by the net.
A couple of the Islanders, including Brendan Witt, were trying to goad Tim Gleason into an altercation, but the defenseman was too smart to take the bait. There was no need for him to drop the gloves in that game. But wait until next year, Witt and Gleason might just have a go at it.
Joel Rechlicz was given an instigator along with a 10 minute misconduct when he jumped Tim Conboy in the third period. Paul Maurice said that he had no choice but to put the first powerplay unit back in the game, if the Islanders were going to resort to goonery. Back when the New Yorkers fired Ted Nolan, Mauirce applied for the job on Long Island but was rebuffed. One wonders if the coach had other reasons for piling on the scoreboard as well.
Frank Kaberle scored his first goal of the year and played a decent game for being out for so long. Joe Corvo was recovering from the flu.
The shot differential, (57-12) was the largest in franchise history.
Staal's fourth hat trick of the year was the most by one player in a single season, in franchise history.
The win was the 12th home win in a row and that is a new franchise record.
After the game, coach Maurice stated that he didn't foresee the need to rest anyone, or bench any player in preparation for the playoffs. He wants to keep things just like they are going, although Michael Leighton could see some action before the playoffs start.
Next up are the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.