|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
Hurricanes Overcome Panthers to Win Five in a Row
Flavor of the Game 700K
RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 26, 2006) - The Carolina Hurricanes made a living in the third period at home last season. That trend kicked in again at the RBC Center against Florida on Tuesday night.
The Canes headed into the third period tied 1-1, but got goals from Rod Brind'Amour 50 seconds in, Scott Walker with 7:45 left and Cory Stillman on an empty net en route to the club's fifth straight win.
Carolina now has 49 third-period goals, by far the most of any period.
"You are messing with fire and rolling the dice when you're not at your best, but we came out with a purpose in the third and won a hockey game," said Laviolette, whose club held the Panthers to just five shots over the final 20 minutes.
"We were a little rusty starting out," added Brind'Amour. "Just the lay off, a couple days of not skating, and they played pretty well defensively. We finally got our skating and forechecking going in the third period.
"When you win (in the third period) everybody says it's conditioning," Brind'Amour said. "But everyone is in good shape now. Our game is getting in there on the forecheck and if you do it enough by the third period you can wear teams down some and that's where we had success tonight. We were in their end a lot in the third period and you could see they weren't getting to the puck."
Laviolette tinkered with the top two lines in the second and it finally paid off when Williams broke out on a 2-on-1 with Eric Staal late in the period. Williams held the puck the entire way, faking to Staal in the slot and then snapping one high to the glove side of Alexander Auld to tie it at 1-1.
"I made two attempts to pass and their defenseman was faking going down so I said I should just put a shot on net since we were down a goal," Williams said.
Laviolette said it wasn't a difficult decision to make a few switches to his top two lines.
"We were just dead," Laviolette said of switching centers Brind'Amour and Staal. "We were on our heels both offensively and defensively in the second period, so instead of just riding it out I decided to make a change and see what would happen. It ended up working, but the biggest thing is the players put a stake in the game in the third period. They made it a point to complete so they could win."
"It was to shake things up and tell us our offense wasn't good enough," Williams said. "It resulted in a few goals."
Williams took the team lead with his 18th goal and his seventh in the last seven games, extending his scoring streak to a team-best eight games.
"I've said all along I think he's one of the more under-rated players around," Brind'Amour said. "He makes plays. He's smart defensively and he's got a flair offensively. He comes to play every night."
Williams shrugged off his recent hot streak. He had a career-best nine-game scoring stretch last season as the 25-year-old is starting to blossom as one of the NHL's top wingers.
"I don't have answers to this," Williams said. "Sometimes you get opportunities to score and some go in and some don't. Right now everything I seem to be shooting is finding a hole."
The Hurricanes dominated most of the first period with the first three power plays, but came up empty in the first 20 minutes while Florida's second shot midway through the period found the back of the Carolina net. Walker had Carolina's best two chances early, but one of his shots from the slot missed the net and another was kicked aside by Auld, but he scored with 7:45 left to give the Canes a 3-1 lead.
Stillman's goal was his first after getting seven assists in his first six games back after shoulder surgery.
Niclas Wallin returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lower body injury, replacing Tim Gleason, who is sidelined a month with a broken foot. Wallin picked up his first point since Nov. 22 when he assisted on the Williams goal.
"He was consistent, steady and we asked him to keep it simple, not do too much and I thought he did that," Laviolette said of Wallin, who played close to 18 minutes and was a plus-2.
Meanwhile, Cole had 13 of Carolina's 50 hits.
Buffalo, the best team in the Eastern Conference all season, is up next for Carolina on Thursday night before returning home to play Anaheim and Philadelphia before the start of the new year.
"We haven't been able to beat Buffalo this year and I'm looking forward to playing them, I know the players are," Laviolette said of the team the Canes beat to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006.
David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.
|Nathan Horton (12) ASST: Bryan Allen (8), Steve Montador (4)|
1 - 0 FLA
|Justin Williams (18) ASST: Niclas Wallin (5), Eric Staal (16)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Rod Brind'Amour (12) ASST: Eric Staal (17), Ray Whitney (26)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Scott Walker (12) ASST: Trevor Letowski (3), Anton Babchuk (8)|
3 - 1 CAR
|Nathan Horton (13) ASST: Olli Jokinen (25), Jay Bouwmeester (12)|
3 - 2 CAR
|EN - Cory Stillman (1) ASST: Glen Wesley (6)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Ruslan Salei Holding against Eric Staal|
|Joel Kwiatkowski Hooking against Eric Belanger|
|Jozef Stumpel Hooking against Glen Wesley|
|Justin Williams Cross checking against Jay Bouwmeester|
|Jay Bouwmeester Slashing against Justin Williams|
|Eric Staal Holding the stick against Branislav Mezei|
|Steve Montador Fighting against Craig Adams|
|Craig Adams Fighting against Steve Montador|
|Eric Belanger Hooking against Jozef Stumpel|
|Chris Gratton Hooking against Eric Staal|
|Erik Cole Tripping against Mike Van Ryn|
|Nathan Horton Slashing against Rod Brind'Amour|
|SA: 29||TOI: 59:48|
|Saves: 26||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 6|
|SV%: .897||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 27||TOI: 59:59|
|Saves: 25||EV: 23 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .926||SH: 0 - 0|