RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The home wins keep piling up for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cory Stillman scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period to lead the Hurricanes past the New York Islanders 4-1 on Friday night, giving Carolina its eighth victory at home in nine games.
Kevyn Adams, Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to an NHL-best 17-4-1 at home. Carolina is ahead of Tampa Bay by 11 points in the Southeast Division, the league's largest margin for any leader.
``We've got the confidence in here,'' Williams said. ``Going into the third period, we have the tools and the guys (to win), and we believe in each other that we're going to win. We come into every game with that attitude.''
The formula is working well as the Hurricanes hit the midpoint of the season. They've surpassed their home win totals for each of the past three seasons - 15 in their Stanley Cup run of 2001-02, 12 in 2002-03 and 13 in 2003-04 - and are on pace to break the franchise record of 26 set in 1986-87.
The Hurricanes will complete a home-and-home series with the Islanders in New York on Saturday, and return home next week to face Detroit and Nashville, the top two teams in the Western Conference's Central Division.
``We've been wrapped up in a couple of big homestands and we've taken advantage of it,'' Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. ``We do have a comfort level here in front of our fans. It's fun to play here.''
Stillman extended his point streak to 10 games with his 13th goal. With Carolina on its third 5-on-3 power play, Stillman tried to send a pass to Williams on the left side but the puck appeared to ricochet off goalie Wade Dubielewicz's stick and into the air.
Williams gloved the puck behind the net and sent it back to Stillman, who squeezed it inside the near post for a 2-1 lead at 19:36.
Brind'Amour then gave the Hurricanes some extra cushion with a power-play goal just more than a minute into the third. After Frantisek Kaberle's shot didn't get through a crowd, Ray Whitney corralled the loose puck and got it to Brind'Amour, who flipped it past Dubielewicz to make it 3-1. Williams added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
Eric Godard scored for the Islanders, but probably gained more attention for a first-period hit on Williams that raised the ire of the Hurricanes and their fans.
After Williams hit Godard in front of the penalty box and was whistled for interference, Godard got up and skated across the ice to retaliate - hitting Williams from behind near the benches. Williams laid on the ice for several moments while fans chanted for Godard to be thrown out of the game.
Godard was called for roughing and charging, negating an Islanders' power play on the Williams penalty. Once Williams got up, he glared toward Godard in the box before exchanging words with him through the glass.
Adams scored right after the power play ended, redirecting a shot from Oleg Tverdovsky at 13:58 of the first for his seventh goal. His first six this season came on a pair of hat tricks.
But the Hurricanes hadn't forgotten Godard's hit. Mike Commodore was called for slashing when he hit Godard during the second period, and Aaron Ward took a boarding penalty for leveling Godard from behind a few minutes later.
Godard said afterward that he ``got the wires crossed'' and initially thought Williams hit him with a stick and elbow to the face. He later provided the Islanders with their only goal, scoring off a rebound at 5:37 of the second period.
``I told him the penalty was dumb,'' Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. ``That said, I told him I wanted him to go out and play. To draw penalties, not take them, and he took me to heart and went out and played hard. He was our best player tonight.''
Notes: Stillman has six goals and 12 assists during his point streak. ... The Islanders were without forward Jason Blake, the team's leader with 17 goals. He bruised ribs in Wednesday's overtime win against Florida and is likely to miss Saturday's rematch. ... Dubielewicz made 31 saves in his first NHL start this season and his fourth career game. He replaced backup Garth Snow, who injured both knees in the final seconds of regulation against Florida. Snow was filling in for regular starter Rick DiPietro, who is day-to-day with a knee injury.
|Kevyn Adams (7) ASST: Oleg Tverdovsky (14), Frantisek Kaberle (18)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Eric Godard (2) ASST: Arron Asham (15), Shawn Bates (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Cory Stillman (13) ASST: Justin Williams (19), Ray Whitney (19)|
2 - 1 CAR
|PPG - Rod Brind'Amour (17) ASST: Ray Whitney (20), Frantisek Kaberle (19)|
3 - 1 CAR
|EN - Justin Williams (16) ASST: Kevyn Adams (3)|
4 - 1 CAR
|Niclas Wallin Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Justin Williams Interference against Eric Godard|
|Eric Godard Charging against Justin Williams|
|Eric Godard Roughing against Justin Williams|
|Alexei Zhitnik Hooking against Eric Staal|
|Arron Asham Hooking against Chad LaRose|
|Mike Commodore Slashing against Eric Godard|
|Niclas Wallin Holding against Mark Parrish|
|Aaron Ward Boarding against Eric Godard|
|Arron Asham Holding against Kevyn Adams|
|Shawn Bates Hooking against Ray Whitney|
|Mark Parrish Hooking against Oleg Tverdovsky|
|Alexei Zhitnik Hooking against Eric Staal|