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Corvo Comes Up Big For Carolina: Hurricanes 4, Islanders 2

Joe Corvo had a three point night and the Carolina Hurricanes came from behind to defeat the New York Islanders, 4-2 at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night.  The defenseman also finished with a team high (+/-)plus 4.

That makes three wins in a row for Carolina and six wins in their last seven games.

The win also puts the Canes just one point behind the eighth place New York Rangers and two points behind seventh place Buffalo Sabres, who lost to Washington in OT. 

The Canes started off the scoring just 4:47 into the opening period when Corvo set up a high-flying Jussi Jokinen who had a step on his man.  Jokinen made no mistake as he roofed his shot over Al Montoya.

It was a short-lived lead though as the Islanders came storming back and tied the score exactly four minutes later. 

The second period was all New York as it looked like they were on the powerplay most of the period.  John Tavares would give the home team the lead at 7:05 into the period, but the Hurricanes were very fortunate it wasn't worse than that.  The Islanders hit the post several times on point blank chances and Cam Ward was forced to come up big a few times as well.

The shots on goal stat was close, (11-10 for the period, 23-20 for the game so far), but the Islanders had almost twice as many scoring chances after two periods, (15-8).

The Canes were not done yet though, and like they have done several times in the recent past, they took control of the game in the decisive third period.

Just three minutes into the period, Corvo would chip in a goal with a tip of a Tim Gleason shot from the point.  Tuomo Ruutu set up the play with the pass out to Gleason.

Three minutes later, Eric Staal found Erik Cole alone in front of the net and Cole knocked it in for the eventual game-winner.  The goal was Cole's eighth game winner of the season, tying him with Staal for the team lead. 

Things got a little tight later in the contest when Jamie McBain accidentally lifted the puck into the crowd on a clearing attempt, but Carolina held firm when they needed to, even against a 4-on-6 disadvantage when the Islanders pulled Montoya to give themselves an extra two men.

A loose puck came out of the zone and Staal chipped it out out to himself at center ice, skated it in, and buried the empty-netter to close out the game. 

It was not the prettiest game in the world but the team poured it on when they needed to and once they got the lead, held on for the win.  The Islanders had been one of the better teams in the league during the last couple of months and they are not necessarily an easy out.

The win sets up the HUGE matchup with the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow at the RBC.  We'll have the game preview up for that game a bit before noon tomorrow.

Quick Stats and Thoughts:

  • One can't say enough about Corvo, who skated with confidence and was attacking the New York zone all night.  He was second on the team to Joni Pitkanen, (23:20) with 22:44 of ice time.
  • It seemed like they shot more, but the Canes only put five shots on goal in the third period and scored on three of those five shots.  Tough period for Montoya.
  • Drayson Bowman had a team high four shots on goal.  Eventually, he will be rewarded with a goal. 
  • Cam Ward was not necessarily at his very best but was solid when he needed to be, especially on the penalty kill, and finished with an excellent stat line, 29 saves on 31 shots.  The post was his friend on this night.
  • The Canes combined for a total of 25 shots.  After Bowman's four, Cole, Pitkanen, Corvo, and LaRose had three each.
  • The team was credited with 20 hits led by Gleason with four and Cole with three.  Ruutu had two, giving him a total of 300 for the season, second best in the league.
  • Cory Stillman had a team high three blocked shots.  The Canes had a total of 13. 
  • The penalty kill was perfect and killed off all four Islander chances.  The powerplay did not look sharp and was 0-3. 
  • The Hurricanes had an unusual penalty called early because of a lineup card violation.  I'll try to get an explanation about that when I can.