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Faulk's late goal helps Hurricanes edge Coyotes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes went back and forth for 60 minutes Sunday until Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk did what he does best: score on the power play.

Faulk's ninth power-play goal of the season with 17 seconds remaining lifted the Hurricanes to a 5-4 win against the Coyotes at PNC Arena on Sunday.

When Martin Hanzal high-sticked John-Michael Liles with 2:15 remaining, the Hurricanes had the opportunity they needed, and Faulk delivered a wrist shot over Anders Lindback's blocker for the game-winner.

"Any time you get a power play late in the game in a tie game, you get pretty excited," said Faulk, who is tied for the NHL lead in power-play goals with Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. "I was just trying to get a shot through to the net. The first one got blocked, but it bounced right back to me and I was able to get another crack at it."

"We got a lead and then we took a bad penalty, just a poor, poor penalty by Hanzal," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "It put them on the power play and then they floated one and it went in."

The Hurricanes (10-13-4) have won back-to-back games after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday. Three players ended long scoring droughts; Eric Staal (14 games) Kris Versteeg (13 games) and Jay McClement (26 games) each broke through to boost the offense.

"They deserve it," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "You keep doing things long enough, you get rewarded. That's the hard thing in sports and in life. You have to believe if you keep working and doing good things, you're going to get rewarded in the end."

The Coyotes (13-13-1) have lost the first four games of a five-game road trip. They have given up five goals in each of the losses.

"It comes right back to where our whole trip has been," Tippett said. "We're making some bad mistakes and we have below-average goaltending. It's as simple as that. Poor mistakes and turnovers, bad penalties and our goaltenders haven't cleaned a lot of messes for us. That's where we are."

Arizona started the scoring 49 seconds into the game on Tobias Rieder's sixth goal of the season. Cam Ward (19 saves) denied Stefan Elliott's shot from inside the blue line, but Rieder was alone in front to covert the rebound.

Carolina tied the game quickly when Versteeg spun to his forehand in the slot and beat Lindback along the ice for his third goal at 2:18. Versteeg was a healthy scratch for the first time Saturday.

"I have pride, I think we all do," said Versteeg, who leads the Hurricanes with 13 assists. "When you don't play, it hurts that (pride). So you want to come back and contribute any way you can."

After two goals early in the period, each team struck for another in the late stages.

The Coyotes went up 2-1 on Nicklas Grossmann's third of the season at 16:55. Grossmann shot into an open net from the left circle after Brad Richardson patiently waited to draw Ward toward him before passing across the slot to Richardson.

Carolina made it 2-2 on McClement's first goal of the season at 18:38. He hunted down a chip-in by Noah Hanifin behind the Arizona net, then held off Zbynek Michalek to wrap the puck and score on his own rebound.

"[McClement] has played some real valuable minutes for us, and he's a real intelligent player for us," Peters said. "So it's good to see him score."

Eric Staal put Carolina up 3-2 at 6:37 of the second period. After an Oliver Ekman-Larsson turnover, Elias Lindholm held the puck in the left circle until he spotted Staal in the slot. The goal was Staal's fifth, and his second 5-on-5.

"It's been a long while since I've seen one go," Staal said. "It felt good just to feel the game, play the game and not think the game.

"No question you squeeze your stick harder. I had some great looks against Montreal and great chances in games prior. The bottom line is you can't let it get to you too bad. You've got to continue to play and work for those chances."

Elliot tied the game at 6:34 of the third period when he moved around Brett Pesce in the right circle and sent a backhand shot past Ward.

Antoine Vermette's power-play goal at 13:41 gave the Coyotes their third lead of the game after he screened Ward and capitalized on a rebound of Mikkel Boedker's shot.

Ron Hainsey made it 4-4 when his shot from the slot handcuffed Lindback at 15:38.

Lindback, who made his first start since Nov. 28, struggled to see shots and contain rebounds, something the Hurricanes noticed early.

"I don't think there was too much talk about it," Staal said. "We could just kind of tell when we were out there. Through traffic and on certain plays he was fighting it a little bit. Some good plays nonetheless. We'll take it any way we can get it right now."

The Hurricanes are hoping the game serves as a momentum builder for a four-game road trip. Getting key players back in the scoring column helps.

"Guys found a way to contribute, guys dug in," Peters said. "Guys wanted to make sure we got it done. It's a good character win."

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