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Carolina finally enjoys success with man advantage

by Brian Compton / NHL.com

A few thoughts while Chase Utley advises Barack Obama and John McCain on potential victory speeches:

Sweet redemption -- What was lost has now been found by the Carolina Hurricanes -- on the power play that is.

One day after going 0-for-6 with the man advantage in a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Hurricanes tallied 3 power-play goals in a 6-4 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the RBC Center.

More importantly, Carolina was able to rally from a 3-1 deficit to pick up a much-needed win on home ice. The Hurricanes scored 3 times in a 3:20 span late in the second period en route to victory.

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"We were kind of sitting on our heels, we weren’t really skating," Hurricanes forward Ray Whitney said of the 2-goal deficit. "Everybody was playing a little bit cautious, and our history the last 4 years as a team has been kind of skate first and then think as you're going. At times when we've gotten into problems, we've been thinking before we're actually moving. In turn, that means you're not working."

Tuomo Ruutu -- who paced the club with a goal and an assist -- attributed the victory to hard work.

"We just started to work harder and that's why we got to more pucks," Ruutu said. "The goal I scored, it was the same kind of example … working hard and getting to the net, and it went in."

Back-and-forth -- The Colorado Avalanche huffed and puffed Sunday night, but their inconsistency was too much to overcome in a 5-3 loss to San Jose at the Pepsi Center.

Certainly, an early 2-0 deficit never is healthy. But that's the situation the Avs put themselves in as Milan Michalek and Devin Setoguchi scored 2 minutes apart before the halfway point of the first period. Colorado did its best to fight back, as it cut the lead to 1 on 3 separate occasions. But the Avs -- who outshot the Sharks 18-7 in the third period -- were unable to find the equalizer.

''We have been on a roller coaster,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said. ''We've done things well enough at certain times to make us feel optimistic, but when you lose games, you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing.''

Meanwhile, Sharks coach Todd McLellan is very happy with the way his team has performed on the road this season. While San Jose has been highly successful at HP Pavilion -- the Sharks are 6-0 on home ice -- Sunday's win improved its road record to 4-2.

''You could win every home game, but 41 wins doesn't get you in the playoffs a lot of times," McLellan said. "You'd better be able to respond on the road. This was a good learning experience for us early in the year.''

In search of consistency -- When they're on top of their game, the Philadelphia Flyers can be considered one of the most dangerous clubs in the League.

But when they don't put forth 60-minute efforts, they float just above mediocrity. Such was the case Sunday afternoon.

It really wasn't until they fell behind 5-2 that the Flyers decided to put the pedal to the metal. Not surprisingly, they ran out of time and dropped a 5-4 decision to the Oilers at the Wachovia Center.

"When you get behind early you play catch-up, and the game just seems harder than it should be," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "If we played 60 minutes the way we played in the third, we would have had a better fate."

Veteran forward Mike Knuble said he'd like to see the Flyers tighten up defensively before they face the Ottawa Senators in Canada's capital city Thursday night. Philadelphia is now 0-3-1 when trailing after 2 periods.

"If we're going to get into shootouts with teams we're going to come up short, because that's not how we're geared," Knuble said.

Ducks do it again -- For the eighth straight time at the Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks found a way to beat the Calgary Flames.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the 3-2 victory, which was Anaheim's sixth in its last 7 games. The Ducks also have notched at least a point in each of their last 7 contests.

Is this is the same team that got off to a 1-5 start? Denis Rodman would be jealous of this rebounding.

 
 

''When you're struggling a little bit, hitting posts and missing the net, that's the way things go sometimes,'' Getzlaf said. ''We worked through it well as a group and rebounded tremendously. That's the big thing we are doing now. Everyone is working and everyone is contributing. We're a confident team right now, and we're playing like it.''

Not everything went smoothly, though. Anaheim did have a 3-0 lead, but allowed the Flames to get back into the game. Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere says his team needs to be more careful.

''We need to get more comfortable playing with the lead," said Giguere, who made 34 saves. "We were up 3-0 and it seemed after that we sat back on our heels a little bit and just watched them play.''

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What a trip -- Five road games in 9 nights would take its toll on most teams.

For the Detroit Red Wings, they could have played on Interstate 75 and it probably wouldn't have bothered them.

Five games (4 on the west coast), 3 wins. Out of a possible 10 points, the Wings accumulated 7.

"Here we are, we're 6-1-1 on the road and we've been on the road for 10 days," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It's been a marathon to say the least. We found a way to go home 3-1-1, and now we've got 5 days to get our real team back playing the way we should be. I think you'll see our team here start to take over and play the way we're capable of."

Translation? Be afraid, NHL. Be very afraid. To think that we haven't even seen what the Red Wings are capable of yet is more terrifying than The Exorcist.

On a side note, I realize the Wings had a 2-man advantage, but did anybody catch Henrik Zetterberg's goal late in the second period? Not even Neil Armstrong had that much space.

"We just can't play like that, even if we're bad. We can't give up six or seven goals. It's a big win, and hopefully they are going to support us. We've got a good team. We're much, much better than that and I promise we're going to be in way better shape than we are right now." -- Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk

I'm sorry … so sorry -- Atlanta Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk apologized to his team's fans who were forced to watch the Thrashers get outscored 13-1 in recent losses to Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Not only did he apologize, but he made it up to depressed Thrashers fans Sunday by scoring twice and adding an assist in a 5-3 win against the Florida Panthers at Philips Arena.

"I have to apologize in front of them after those efforts," Kovalchuk said after Sunday's win. "We just can't play like that, even if we're bad. We can't give up 6 or 7 goals. It's a big win, and hopefully they are going to support us. We've got a good team. We're much, much better than that and I promise we're going to be in way better shape than we are right now."

For those wondering how the Thrashers can really get on a roll, Kovalchuk came up with a solution. It's actually quite simple.

''It seems like when I score, we win,'' Kovalchuk said.

There you have it. We can only hope that John Anderson is reading this.

Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com.

Material from wire services and team online media was used in this report.

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