|Goaltender Cam Ward's 27-save effort helped Hurricanes' head coach Peter Laviolette earn his 200th career victory as Carolina defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Monday night
Cory Stillman broke a 3-3 tie with just 1:09 to play to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center on Monday night, but it was overshadowed by what transpired only moments prior.
Hurricanes forward Erik Cole was taken off the ice on a stretcher at the 12:34 mark of the third period, when he crashed headfirst into the pads of Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Cole – who suffered a fractured vertebra in March of 2006 – was motionless on the ice for several minutes before being transported to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Fla.
The Hurricanes, however, received tremendous news afterwards. Cole was cleared to fly with the team to Tampa on Tuesday morning after a CT scan came back negative. He will continue to be monitored by the Hurricanes’ staff. The Hurricanes visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
"From what I understand, he had movement in his limbs," Laviolette said after the game. "He had some pain in his trapezoid area and I think with his previous injury, not knowing what's going on in there, it's just better to be safe."
Somehow, Carolina was able to keep its focus, as Stillman notched his second tally of the period when his backhand pass from behind the net deflected off both Vokoun’s pad and the stick of Florida defenseman Steve Montador before finding the back of the net.
It was the last of three odd goals for Carolina in the period. Stillman broke a 1-1 tie 52 seconds into the final frame on a power play tally, as he fooled Vokoun by faking a dump-in before firing a wrist shot into the net to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.
''I lifted my head and saw he was behind the net, so I just took a shot from center,'' Stillman said. ''As soon as I wound up I could see he was starting to cheat.''
''That was just a bad mistake by me,'' Vokoun said. ''I left early. There's no reason for that. It was a bad play, and it ended up costing us a goal.''
Stephen Weiss tied the game 2-2 only 18 seconds after Stillman’s tally, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Justin Williams regained Carolina’s lead at the 3:39 mark, when his long wrist shot managed to float over Vokoun’s right shoulder and underneath the crossbar.
''Sometimes shots go in,'' Williams said. ''You saw mine, just across the blue line, shooting pucks. Vokoun was really solid. He made some big saves. Give them credit, they battled back hard as they did last time we played them. This time we had the better of them.''
David Booth tied the game again for Florida on a goal that came just three seconds after a power play expired. With 7:58 to play in regulation, Booth was able to jam home Ville Peltonen’s rebound to make it 3-3. But Stillman would regain the lead for the Hurricanes with time winding down to conclude a wacky third period.
''I thought we battled hard and we probably deserved a better fate,'' Florida coach Jacques Martin said. ''I think the key is to play hard like this every night and you will win your share of games.''
It marked the ninth time the Hurricanes have beaten the Panthers in the last 10 meetings. Cam Ward finished with 27 saves for Carolina, which improved to 11-4-3 on the season. It was the 123rd victory for Laviolette with the Hurricanes. The other 77 wins came during a two-year stint with the New York Islanders.
''I'm fortunate to be here with a good team with good players,'' Laviolette said. ''I guess it's a milestone. It's more important to get the win and keep pushing forward with this group.''
Flyers 3, Islanders 2 | Video
We’re only a little more than a month into the season, and Philadelphia is only four wins shy of matching its output from 2006-07.
Thanks to a pair of goals from Scottie Upshall, the Flyers improved to 6-0-0 at the Wachovia Center with a victory over New York, which won all four contests in the City of Brotherly Love last season.
Mike Richards potted the game-winner with a shorthanded tally at the 3:24 mark of the third period. The Flyers’ forward was able to collect his own rebound after Rick DiPietro was unable to hold on to the puck, and he stuffed it past the Isles’ netminder for his 10th goal of the season. Three of those tallies have come shorthanded.
''He's got great instincts and he's a big-game player,'' Flyers coach John Stevens said of Richards. ''He came through tonight.''
Upshall scored the lone goal of the opening period, which came at the 10:38 mark. The two-way forward was able to get in the way of Ruslan Fedotenko’s clearing attempt and knocked the puck past DiPietro for his second goal of the campaign as Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead.
Moments after DiPietro made a brilliant save on a breakaway attempt by Richards, Mike Sillinger tied things up with his second goal of the season. The veteran center took a pass from Richard Park and beat Martin Biron with a nifty backhand shot to make it 1-1 at the 5:06 mark of the second period.
But Upshall regained Philadelphia’s lead with his second goal of the game with 8:17 to play in the second, when he maneuvered the puck around the Islanders’ defense before sliding the puck past DiPietro to give the Flyers 2-1 lead.
''It's nice to be able to make a move on the goalie,'' Upshall said.
The resilient Islanders would fight back to tie things up again, this time from an unlikely source. Chris Simon made it a 2-2 game with 1:43 left in the second period as he stuffed a loose rebound past Biron after the Flyers’ netminder fell on his back following a shot from Miroslav Satan. It was Simon’s first goal and point of the season.
The Islanders looked to be in good shape when Danny Briere went off for hooking 1:47 into the third period. At the end of the day, though, it was just another opportunity for Richards to strut his stuff. The Flyers’ forward has picked up where he left off last season, when he recorded four shorthanded goals.
''I saw the puck come out a little bit and I didn't want to skate into the corners,'' Richards said.
''It was just kind of laying there.''
Islanders coach Ted Nolan was disappointed that his team failed to generate much on the power play, especially the timely one that New York was handed early in the third period. The Isles went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
''We didn't have any power on the power play,'' Nolan said. ''You have to get some shots through and you have to create some havoc in front of the net to give any goaltender some trouble. We just didn't establish anything.''
Devils 3, Penguins 2 | Video
|Devils' backup goalie Kevin Weekes filled in admirably for starter Martin Brodeur, as he made 23 saves in New Jersey's 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Devils’ backup netminder made 23 saves, and Patrik Elias snapped an 11-game drought by breaking a 2-2 tie with 5:23 remaining in regulation as New Jersey picked up a much-needed win at Mellon Arena.
After watching his team surrender a 2-0 lead, Elias came through when he finished off a 3-on-2 rush as he fired Brian Gionta’s feed past Dany Sabourin for his first goal since Oct. 13 against the Atlanta Thrashers.
''They made something happen on that 3-on-2 and that's what you need them to do,'' Devils coach Brent Sutter said. ''It's a big goal obviously and it's good to see Elias score. Hopefully this will give him some confidence.''
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Penguins (7-10-1), who have now lost four in a row and six of their last seven. Despite all its firepower up front, Pittsburgh currently resides in last place in the Atlantic Division.
''It's easy to look at the way things have gone the last few games and be critical and be negative, but we probably played our best game in the last few,'' Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. ''We deserved to win it, but it didn't happen.''
Travis Zajac gave the Devils an early lead when he potted his fourth goal of the season just 4:40 into the game. After faking a shot near the post, Zajac fired a shot from the left circle that found its way through Sabourin’s pads as New Jersey took a 1-0 lead.
Parise put the Devils up by a pair when he notched his fourth goal in 17 career games against Pittsburgh at the 10:33 mark of the opening period. The play was made possible by Gionta, who skated out from behind the net with the puck before feeding Parise, and the latter stuffed the cross-crease pass into the net for the Devils’ first power play goal in 20 chances. It also marked the fourth time in nine home games that the Pens have trailed by two goals or more.
Crosby gave the Penguins life when he cut the deficit in half just 26 seconds into the second period. The Pens’ captain finished off a give-and-go with Ryan Malone as he fired a shot between the pads of Weekes for his 10th goal of the season.
Evgeni Malkin erased New Jersey’s lead completely with a power play goal at the 10:34 mark of the third period. After Zajac was whistled for hooking, Malkin was able to extend his points streak to 11 games when he one-timed Sergei Gonchar’s feed from the top of the right circle past Weekes to make it 2-2.
Martin Brodeur – who allowed nine goals in the first two games against the Pens this season – was given the night off, as the Devils (7-8-2) play their next two games at the Prudential Center, starting on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers. Brodeur’s next victory will be the 500th of his career. Weekes, however, went a long ways in proving to his team that he can provide the goaltending it needs when counted upon.
''Our confidence level has been going up and down so far this season, so to be able to bounce back and win this game says a lot about us,'' Weekes said. ''We feel a lot better about ourselves.''
Elias certainly feels better.
''I'm happy because I felt we deserved to win,'' Elias said. ''We played well. Weekes had a great performance and I'm glad I was able to get such a big goal.''
Sharks 5, Coyotes 0 | Video
Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi each scored twice, and Evgeni Nabokov notched his second shutout of the season as San Jose coasted past Phoenix at the HP Pavilion for the second time in three nights.
Monday’s win marked the first time the Sharks have recorded back-to-back wins at home ice this season. San Jose handed the Coyotes a 4-1 loss at the Shark Tank on Saturday.
''We are getting great goaltending with Nabby,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ''He made some big saves. He was there all night and made all the saves that mattered.''
Mike Grier gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal with 1:36 left in the first period. It was the culmination of a give-and-go with Torrey Mitchell, as the latter returned the puck to Grier for his second goal of the season.
Thornton notched his first goal of the night with 1:09 remaining in the second period, as he fired a rebound past Phoenix goaltender Mikael Tellqvist to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Setoguchi potted San Jose’s second shorthanded goal of the night 4:06 into the third period, when he took advantage of a miscue by Keith Ballard right in front of the net. He scored again with 4:48 to play to make it a 4-0 game. Thornton rounded out the scoring with a power play goal just 1:21 later – giving him 10 points in his last nine games -- as San Jose improved to 9-7-2 on the season.
''I was pressuring the guy in front of the net and he sort of bobbled it,'' Setoguchi said. ''I took it from him and just shot it. We put it together, and if we do that every night for 60 minutes it's dangerous how effective we can be.''
The teams will meet again on Thursday night in Phoenix, marking the first time the Coyotes’ franchise has faced the same opponent three games in a row since the Winnipeg Jets met the Vancouver Canucks for a trio of contests in March of 1983.
''Now we go on the road and we need to keep our confidence,'' Thornton said. ''We have to keep fighting for pucks and shots.''
Phoenix captain Shane Doan is hoping the third time will be a charm for the Coyotes, who dropped two straight road games for the first time this season.
''When they're playing well it's tough to play the same team three times when they're beating you,'' Doan said. ''But you definitely want to get back on that horse and try again.''
Material from wire services was used in this report.