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HURRICANES EXTEND HOME UNBEATEN STREAK TO SIX GAMES

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes extended their home unbeaten streak to six games tonight as they defeated the New York Islanders 5-2 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Hurricanes center Rod Brind’Amour led the Carolina attack registering his second career hat trick and Martin Gelinas and Shane Willis each chipped in four points.

Brind’Amour opened the game’s scoring at 5:36 of the first period when he netted his first goal since Carolina’s 5-3 win against Buffalo on December 15. For Brind’Amour’s second goal, Willis found a cutting Brind’Amour skating through the slot, and Brind’Amour effortlessly lifted the puck over New York goaltender Wade Flaherty’s right shoulder.

“I give a lot of credit to Marty,” Brind’Amour said. “He was really the catalyst of all of the goals. He just works hard and gets the job done. I’m proud to be out there with him. He just works so hard and wins his battles. It makes it easier for me and Willie to get into open areas.”

Gelinas added a tally to Brind’Amour’s three goals and Sami Kapanen’s second period goal when he beat Flaherty on a rebound at 15:29 of the third period. Willis passed the puck to defenseman Kevin Hatcher at the point, Hatcher skated to center before firing a shot on goal that bounced off Flaherty’s pads and Gelinas picked up the loose puck to close the game’s scoring.

Carolina coach Paul Maurice liked what he saw whenever Brind’Amour and Gelinas skated on the same line.

“I think (Brind’Amour) and Marty Gelinas have played well together in the times that they have been together,” said Maurice. “Whether it was (Shane Willis) or Robby DiMaio playing there – either grit or speed – Gelinas and Brind’Amour seem to work well together.”

Brind’Amour and Gelinas’ performances almost overshadowed Willis’ four assists, a new franchise rookie record. But Willis will not bask in the glow of his achievement.

“Back-to-back games against Florida right now, divisional games—these are going to be huge games for us,” Willis said. “We’re going to start preparing tomorrow for the Florida games.”

Maurice attributed Willis’ success to Willis having not played in four of the last six games as he recovered from a back injury.

“It turns out that for a young guy coming into the year, this is the time of year – late December – where those young guys wear a little bit,” said Maurice. “His back was bothering him for a long time. That was the best thing that could happen to him, take that week off. He comes back and that’s the jump, and that’s what we saw at the start of the year. He’s got his legs back. It’s exciting to see the young players make a difference.”

The Hurricanes, and especially the Brind’Amour – Gelinas – Willis line, looked like a team eager to take advantage of their home-friendly schedule during January and gain some ground on the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals.

“Whenever you can get a hat trick in a game and whenever a line can gel together like this—we haven’t been together that long—to be able to have a big game like this, it’s great," said Willis. "Now it’s just got to carry into Tuesday night’s game (against Florida).”

  1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
NY Islanders 1 1 0 2
Carolina 2 3 0 5

First Period: Scoring: 1, Carolina, Brindamour 5 (Gelinas, Willis), 5:36. 2, NY Islanders, Muckalt 4 (Martins), 11:38. 3, Carolina, Brindamour 6 (Willis, Gelinas), 18:27.

Second Period: Scoring: 4, Carolina, Kapanen 12 (Tanabe, Oneill), 2:37. 5, NY Islanders, Connolly 2 (power play) (Hamrlik, Scatchard), 3:09. 6, Carolina, Brindamour 7 (power play) (Gelinas, Willis), 12:19. 7, Carolina, Gelinas 12 (power play) (Hatcher, Willis), 15:29. Penalties: Malik, Car (roughing), 3:02; Lawrence, Nyi (roughing), 10:35; Kvasha, Nyi (holding), 14:25.

Third Period: Scoring: None. Penalties: NY Islanders bench, served by Muckalt (too many men on the ice), 2:48; Martins, Nyi (slashing), 15:52; Karpa, Car (roughing), 19:52.

SHOTS ON GOAL
NY Islanders   10 7 7 --24
Carolina   5 13 6 --24

Power-play Conversions: Nyi - 1 of 2, Car - 2 of 4. Goalies: NY Islanders, Flaherty (24 shots, 19 saves; record: 5-9-0). Carolina, Irbe (24, 22; record: 15-14-5). A: 8,627. Referees: Peel, Zelkin. Linesmen: D Mccourt, Broseker.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYER STATISTICS
New York         Carolina        
  G A +/- Shots   G A +/- Shots
A Brimanis
Blake
Connolly
Czerkawski
Galley
Hamrlik
Kvasha
Lapointe
Lawrence
Martins
Mezei
Muckalt
Myrvold
Parrish
Pyatt
Scatchard
Toms
Z Chara
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
-1
-2
-2
-2
even
-1
-1
even
even
+1
-1
+1
-1
even
-2
even
+1
even
0
3
3
3
0
4
3
0
1
0
0
2
1
0
0
2
1
1
Battaglia
Brindamour
Dimaio
Francis
G Wesley
Gelinas
Hatcher
J Daniels
Kapanen
Karpa
Langdon
Malik
Oneill
T Westlund
Tanabe
Vasicek
Wallin
Willis
0
3
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
4
even
+2
even
even
+1
+2
even
even
even
+1
even
+1
even
even
+1
even
even
+2
1
3
0
1
0
3
4
0
3
0
1
2
1
1
2
1
0
1
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