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Cory Stillman is making up for lost time.
Sidelined for the first three games of the season after a freak car accident leaving the rink, Stillman continued his torrid pace Monday night, scoring three goals in the opening 11:28 of a 5-0 victory over the slumping Washington Capitals.
“The biggest thing is we’re playing well and we’re all putting the team ahead of individuals,” said Stillman, who has 19 points in 12 games. “If we continue to move the puck we’re going to see a lot of guys put up big numbers.”
“Obviously, we wanted to rebound against them,” Stillman said. “You don’t forget games like that even though it was early in the season. They are going to remember this game when they play us here again in two weeks.”
Stillman matched his career high in points with four when he assisted on Eric Staal’s second goal of the night 2:01 into the third period.
Cam Ward stopped 35 shots to register his third career shutout in the blowout win.
“It always seems like when I have zeroes across the board one gets on me late, and I wanted to bear down in the third period and finish the deal,” said Ward. “The guys did that, too. Look at that second-to-last shift, Ray Whitney was going all over the place in the offensive zone, proving that even with a 5-0 lead guys were working extremely hard to the end of the game.”
The Hurricanes, who have the top offense in the NHL, have now scored three or more goals in 11 of 15 games, bolting to a big lead in the Southeast Division two seasons after winning the Stanley Cup. The Canes have outscored opponents 45-14 in the team’s nine wins.
“We are an offensive team and even when we get up one or two goals we have the mentality that we need to keep scoring. We’re not a team that sits back because when we do that we get in trouble,” said Stillman. “That’s coach (Peter) Laviolette’s way of playing the game. If you get one, continue to push, continue to score.”
It took the Hurricanes just 18 seconds to score on the man advantage three minutes later after Alex Ovechkin went off for a boarding penalty as Whitney keyed the passing again.
Stillman secured his first hat trick since his three-goal game on January 2002 on just
Stillman’s three-goal feat in a span of 7:05 was the fastest first-period hat trick in franchise history and second fastest ever. Whitney has the record when he scored three goals in a span of 1:40 last season.
“We were so good on our special teams,” said Ward. “We showed a lot of finesse. We’ve got a lot of skilled guys in here and we displayed it in that first period. Even I was trying to pass to the puck to Cory Stillman, maybe I could get an assist.”
Meanwhile, Ward, who had allowed nine goals in his last four periods after a fabulous start to the season, kept
“I couldn’t sleep this afternoon so I threw in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals to watch and it just reminded me of how focused and how calm I was and I tried to be like that tonight,” said Ward.
Staal became the team’s first double-digit goal scorer when he scored his 10th of the season on the power play late in the second.
NOTES: Carolina has scored at least one power play goal in 12 of 15 games … Stillman has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) during his eight-game point streak. … Whitney has 13 points in his last nine games. … David Tanabe was in the lineup for Keith Aucoin. The defenseman had been a healthy scratch for the last six games. … The Canes improved to 6-0 when leading after the first period. … Stillman scored four points in a game six times in his 13-year career.