Carolina's four-goal rally in the third period came up a goal short as the Phoenix Coyotes posted a 7-5 victory. The defeat dropped Carolina to 26-29-9 on the season and leaves them four points behind the New York Rangers, who tied Buffalo 3-3 last night, for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Sparked by Martin Gelinas' goal just 35 seconds into the third period, Carolina rallied from a 6-1 deficit after two periods with four unanswered goals to close the score to 6-5 with less than three minutes to play. After Gelinas goal made the score 6-2, Paul Coffey notched his seventh goal of the season at 5:16, Sean Hill scored his sixth power play goal of the season at 11:05, and Robert Kron scored his ninth goal of the season at 16:33 of the third. Carolina was unable to get the equalizer with the goaltender pulled in the final minute of play and Jeremy Roenick sealed the game with an empty net goal.
The Hurricanes are back in action tonight against the Los Angeles Kings, marking Carolina's first trip to the new Staples Center. The game will be broadcast on the Hurricanes Television Network at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Goaltender Arturs Irbe was relieved by Mark Fitzpatrick after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first 13 minutes of play. It marked only the fourth time Irbe has failed to finish a game he has started. Fitzpatrick played the remainder of the game, allowing three goals on 23 shots and took the loss. In a night in which the starting goaltenders were destined not to finish the game, Coyotes' starting netminder Sean Burke left the game after two periods because of a groin injury. Bob Essensa finished the game for Phoenix.
Falling behind 3-0 just 13:21 into the game, Ron Francis recorded his first of three points (1g, 2a) on the night when he scored at 14:00 to cut the Coyotes lead to two goals and that was the score as the two teams headed to the locker room after one period.
Phoenix pulled away from Carolin late in the second period by tallying three times in the last 8:39 of the second stanza to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
SummaryCarolina 1 0 4--5Phoenix 3 3 1--7 FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Phoenix, Adams 14 (Green, Carney), 3:43. 2,Phoenix, Hogue 1 (Letowski), 12:56. 3, Phoenix, Letowski 13 (Tocchet),13:21. 4, Carolina, Francis 19 (Hill, Oneill), 14:00. Penalties: Roberts,Car (fighting major), 2:30; Tocchet, Pho (fighting major), 2:30; Ylonen,Pho (high sticking), 15:57; Roberts, Car (charging), 18:21.SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 5, Phoenix, Drake 11 (Adams, Numminen), 12:12.6, Phoenix, Sullivan 5 (Numminen), 14:31. 7, Phoenix, Roenick 29(shorthanded) (Drake), 19:51. Penalties: Gill, Pho (slashing), 1:56;Kovalenko, Car (Obstr tripping), 8:27; Hogue, Pho (interference), 18:26.THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 8, Carolina, Gelinas 12 (Oneill, Francis),0:35. 9, Carolina, Coffey 7 (Kron), 5:16. 10, Carolina, Hill 9 (power play) (Francis, Coffey), 11:05. 11, Carolina, Kron 9 (Kovalenko), 16:33.12, Phoenix, Roenick 30 (empty net) (Drake, Numminen), 19:38. Penalties:Gill, Pho (tripping), 10:08; Roberts, Car (slashing, roughing), 19:38;Roenick, Pho (roughing), 19:38.Shots on goal:Carolina 7 8 14--29Phoenix 13 11 12--36
Power-play Conversions: Car - 1 of 4, Pho - 0 of 3. Goalies: Carolina,Irbe (12 shots, 9 saves), Fitzpatrick (13:21 of 1st period, 23, 20;record: 0-2-0). Phoenix, Burke (15, 14; record: 13-11-3), Essensa (start of 3rd, 14, 10). A:14,666. Referees: Maguire, Van Massenhoven. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Wheler.