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Recap: Hurricanes Rout Islanders

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Analysis from Raleigh

→ It was a back-and-forth contest until it wasn't. The Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals in both the second and third periods to win their fourth straight game at home, a 7-4 rout of the New York Islanders. Brock McGinn tallied a four-point night (1g, 3a), and Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Lee Stempniak each had three points (1g, 2a).

"It was an open game. There was lots of opportunities unfortunately sometimes both ways," Staal said. "I thought we gave up a few too many good chances, but we found a way to put the puck in net and get two points."

With the victory, the Hurricanes earned all eight of a possible eight points in their four-game homestand, improved to 14-1-1 in their last 16 home games and are now within a point of a wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with games in hand.

"We're right there, for sure. I know our conference is very good, and the Metropolitan Division is very good. It's going to be a lot of fun. You've got to win games on a consistent basis," head coach Bill Peters said. "You've got to look after your business. We did that last night and tonight."

Video: Offense explodes in Hurricanes' 7-4 win

→ Early in the second period, the Islanders took a 3-1 lead. By the end of the second period, the Hurricanes had scored three goals to take a 4-3 lead to the locker room.

"There was a lot of hockey left. We gave up a lot more chances than we typically do," Stempniak said. "We just talked about limiting their chances. We felt like we didn't need to cheat for offense, and if we could be responsible defensively, we could turn pucks back the other way and use our speed."

"The pace of the game was high, and there were lots of chances each way," Peters said. "We don't have to cheat to generate offense. We can check for our chances. We can play responsibly and still generate the quality that we want."

Justin Faulk brought his team within a goal just about five minutes in to the second with a shot that found its way through a collection of bodies in front and then trickled in off the skate of Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield. Four minutes later, Lindholm accepted an exceptional cross-ice backhand feed from McGinn and one-timed it to the back of the net to tie the game at three. In the final five minutes of the period, Brett Pesce's second tally of the year gave the Hurricanes the one-goal advantage.

→ McGinn earned first-star honors with his four-point performance, the first of his career, and he also became the first Hurricanes player to win back-to-back postgame awards.

"Ginner has played well for a while now," Staal said. "It's starting to go in for him, and he made some unbelievable passes tonight. He's got some confidence."

"Our scouts stepped up and took him in the second round. He's a little under-sized and he's maybe not the fastest guy, but he's got a lot of hockey player in him," Peters said. "He's a very courageous kid, a very intelligent player, a lot of old school in him. He's starting to play with way more pace now, which is a huge credit to him."

And McGinn? He's having fun.

"A lot of fun," he said with a smile. "It's finding those little soft areas. Jordo and Lindy are doing a great job right now. We're all supporting each other and finding each other with the puck, getting to those dirty areas and banging it in."

Video: McGinn, Staal, Stempniak, and Peters Postgame

→ John Tavares' second goal of the game, scored just 68 seconds into the third period, tied the game at four. The Hurricanes then scored three unanswered to pull away with two points in hand.

Stempniak buried a shot off a Teravainen faceoff win to put the Canes back on top, 5-4. Teravainen then tipped in a Faulk point shot before Staal scored on a rebound, and the rout was on.

"When we have the puck and start with a puck, it makes a big difference," Peters said.

"We knew we had the skill to come back. We did a good job battling," McGinn said. "Any time you put up seven, it's a lot of fun. We want to continue that here on the road."

→ Before Lindholm missed five games with an upper-body injury, he recorded points in three straight games (2g, 2a). Since returning to the lineup on Jan. 10, he again has points in three straight (1g, 4a).

"To come back off that injury and not miss a beat is fantastic for him," Peters said. "He was a high pick, fifth overall. Now I think you're starting to see why."

"Lindy has played really, really well," Staal said. "He's really, really strong. He's holding onto pucks, bringing guys to him, dishing and making plays - all those things we know he can do."

→ For the fourth time in four games during this homestand, the Hurricanes fell down 1-0 early. Tavares was responsible for that, as he redirected Mayfield's point shot. The Hurricanes, though, kept firing and put 17 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. McGinn's fifth goal of the season tied the game at one, as he crashed the net for a rebound off a Lindholm shot.

→ The Hurricanes remain undefeated in their black third sweaters this season at 5-0-0.

→ If they had it their way, the Hurricanes would never leave PNC Arena. But the NHL schedule dictates that they must play 41 road games, so the Canes will hit the road for another Metropolitan Division match-up on Tuesday in Columbus, their first of two visits to Ohio next week.

"We've got a real good stretch coming up prior to the LA All-Star Game," Peters said.

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