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Hurricanes 9, Islanders 0 @NHLdotcom

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -This was the closest thing to a night off that Cam Ward has had lately.

The Carolina goalie needed to stop only 12 shots for his sixth shutout of the season, and his franchise-record 39th victory - a 9-0 rout of the New York Islanders on Tuesday night - was the most lopsided loss in the proud organization's history.

"This could have been easily a game that we could have taken a night off," said Ward, who made his 27th straight start. "And the guys came in and prepared and threw everything at them."

And past them.

Eric Staal had three goals and an assist, and finished with a club-record fourth hat trick of the season. Erik Cole assisted on all three of Staal's goals and finished with four assists. Tuomo Ruutu had two goals, while Scott Walker, Dwight Helminen, Rod Brind'Amour and Frantisek Kaberle also scored for the Hurricanes.

They matched a team mark with their ninth straight victory while extending their franchise-record winning streak on home ice to 12.

"We're playing the right way. We're playing at a high, competitive level, and we're playing like a well-oiled machine," Staal said. "When you're confident and when you're doing the right things, you're going to get good results and nights like tonight."

They led 3-0 after one period and 6-0 after two and held a 57-12 shots advantage - the widest differential in franchise history - in keeping pace with Philadelphia in the race for the No. 4 seed in the East. Both teams have 97 points, but the Flyers - who beat Florida 2-1 - have a game in hand.

Yann Danis stopped just seven of the 10 shots he faced in the first before giving way to Joey MacDonald, who made 41 saves but allowed six goals for the Islanders. Never before had they lost by more than eight goals - and they hadn't done that since losing 8-0 at St. Louis in 1988.

They finished this one with more than twice as many penalty minutes as shots. They didn't hit double figures in shots until there were six minutes left. And by the midpoint of the third, they had as many shots (eight) as Carolina had goals (eight).

"It was just one of those nights when it seemed nothing was going in the right direction," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.

At Vancouver, British Columbia, Roberto Luongo made 21 of his 46 saves in the first period, defenseman Mattias Ohlund scored twice, and Vancouver moved into a tie with Calgary atop the Northwest Division.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla tied the game 1-1 in the second period, finally beating Luongo on the 33rd shot. But Ohlund restored the lead 22 seconds later with a shot off a Calgary defenseman - his first goal in 26 games - and added an insurance goal on the power play with 5:09 left.

At San Jose, Calif., Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves in his seventh shutout and stopped all three Colorado attempts in the shootout, carrying the Sharks two points closer to the Presidents' Trophy.

Joe Pavelski scored the only goal during the first round of the shootout for the Sharks, who moved five points ahead of Boston for the NHL's best record. San Jose also clinched a share of its first Western Conference championship by taking a six-point lead over Detroit, although the Red Wings still have a shot at home-ice advantage.

At Philadelphia, Jeff Carter scored the go-ahead goal at 7:32 of the third period, helping the Flyers clinch a playoff berth. Carter moved ahead of New Jersey's Zach Parise for second place in the NHL scoring race with his 45th goal.

Joffrey Lupul also scored for the Flyers, whose 97th point and 43rd victory surpassed their 2007-08 totals (95 and 42).

At Tampa, Fla., Sidney Crosby scored twice in a 1:04 span midway through the second period to help Pittsburgh clinch a playoff berth.

Crosby (101) joined teammate Evgeni Malkin (NHL-leading 110), who had two assists, in reaching the 100-point mark this season. It is the first time two Pittsburgh players have reached 100 points during the same season since Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) in 1995-96.

At Glendale, Ariz., B.J. Crombeen scored twice, Chris Mason made 28 saves and St. Louis inched closer to the playoffs while eliminating Edmonton from contention. The Blues, who have not made the playoffs since 2004, won their seventh in nine games to move two points ahead of Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist and Brad Winchester also scored for St. Louis, which completed its first-ever season sweep against the Coyotes franchise.

At Edmonton, Alberta, Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist, and Los Angeles removed the Oilers from the playoff picture. Alexander Frolov also scored for the Kings, already eliminated from contention.

Fernando Pisani scored for Edmonton.

At Nashville, Tenn., Martin Havlat scored an empty-net goal and added an assist as the Blackhawks damaged the Predators' playoff hopes. The Blackhawks already are in.

Jonathan Toews, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks in their fourth straight win.

At New York, Chris Drury scored a pair of goals and the Rangers took advantage of Montreal's careless defense and suspect goaltending to improve their chances of making the playoffs.

The Rangers, eighth in the East, moved within one point of seventh-place Montreal and two in front of Florida. All three teams have two games remaining.

At Newark, N.J., Christian Hanson, the son of one of the notorious Hanson brothers from the movie "Slap Shot," scored his first NHL goal, and Martin Gerber played a spectacular game with 47 saves.

Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Hamilton and John Mitchell also scored for Toronto, which won for only the second time in six games. Gerber had given up 12 goals in his last two starts and the Maple Leafs' allowed 14 in the same span.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored for New Jersey, which lost for the seventh time in nine games.

At St. Paul, Minn., Marian Gaborik had a goal and two assists, and the Wild avoided elimination from the playoff chase for at least three more days.

Eric Belanger and Owen Nolan each scored on the power play off rebounds of shots by Gaborik, who has eight goals and five assists in nine games since returning from hip surgery. Injuries have limited him to 15 games all season, but he has 11 goals and seven assists and has scored in five straight games.

Niklas Backstrom, making his team-record 19th straight start for the Wild, made 27 saves.

At Atlanta, Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist and the Capitals strengthened their hold on second place in the East.

Washington scored three first-period goals and led 3-2 midway through the third period when Sergei Fedorov jammed in a rebound after Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped a shot by Alex Ovechkin.

Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin also scored for Washington.

At Ottawa, Dany Heatley scored his 38th goal on a power play in the second period and the Senators set a franchise record with their ninth straight home win.

Christoph Schubert and Mike Fisher also scored for Ottawa, which beat Boston for the first time this season.

Phil Kessel and Zdeno Chara scored for the Bruins, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

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