UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The way things have gone lately for the slumping Carolina Hurricanes, every win is a masterpiece.
Rallying on the road in the third period against a club that hadn’t lost when leading after 40 minutes all season made this victory that much sweeter.
Carolina defencemen Mike Commodore and Niclas Wallin scored in the third period, and Cory Stillman netted the power-play winner in overtime for the Hurricanes, who earned a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday.
“It was a gross game,” Commodore said. “The ice was terrible. Pucks were bouncing all over the place. Each team got a couple of lucky goals. We were all just trying to get pucks to the net. That’s how we got the first two.”
New York seemed well in control after carrying a 2-0 lead into the third period, but Commodore and Wallin each broke 11-game goal droughts to get the Hurricanes even.
Stillman took a pass in front from Eric Staal, during Andy Sutton’s cross-checking penalty, and scored past Rick DiPietro with a second whack 52 seconds into overtime.
“It was a broken play. It’s scary how it works out sometimes,” Stillman said.
The Hurricanes didn’t have any power-play chances until Staal was crunched into the end boards by Radek Martinek with 1:23 left in the third period. Their second advantage was enough to give them a second consecutive win following a four-game skid.
Carolina hadn’t won two in a row since Dec. 15 and 18, both after regulation.
“There’s a saying that the worst lead in hockey is a two-goal lead, and it proved to be right,” Stillman said.
New York, which squandered a two-goal edge for the second straight game, is 3-3-4 in its last 10. Not even the return from injury of Martinek and fellow defenceman Brendan Witt was enough to help. The Islanders had been 15-0 when leading after two periods.
“It was bound to happen eventually,” captain Bill Guerin said. “It’s a sour taste in our mouths right now.”
The Islanders are 0-2-2 in their past four at home, sandwiched around a successful 2-1-2 road trip. New York led 3-1 over Philadelphia on Saturday before falling 5-3.
“We should be flying a bit higher after the road trip we had,” Guerin said. “I think sometimes you get a lead at home and you take it for granted.”
Commodore started the rally 3:39 into the third, and Wallin tied it about 12 minutes later.
Wallin let the puck go from the right point, sending a drive between the legs of Islanders forward Trent Hunter and past DiPietro, who was screened in front by Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour with 4:40 left in regulation.
Commodore had cut the deficit to 2-1 with a shot that caromed in off an Islanders skate in front.
Andy Hilbert and Miroslav Satan scored second-period goals for New York.
Hilbert took advantage of a fortunate bounce off the glass 3:17 into the period, and Satan doubled the Islanders’ lead near the end of the second. DiPietro shook off an injury to his right leg and was in line for his 20th win.
DiPietro stretched for a shot that sailed wide of the net late in the second period and got up slowly, flexing his right leg. He made a flurry of saves soon after and appeared to be OK. DiPietro missed three games last month due to a left knee injury and said this was unrelated.
“It was a little tweak. Nothing major,” said DiPietro, who finished with 26 saves.
Cam Ward stopped 23 shots and helped the Hurricanes build off a 7-2 home win on Friday that ended their skid. Carolina has allowed only four goals in two games after giving up 19 in the four-game slide.
The teams will conclude their four-game season series at Carolina on Tuesday night.
“These points are huge,” Witt said. “We have to become road warriors.”
Hilbert was positioned perfectly to score his fifth of the season and first in 13 games. A dump-in off the glass to Ward’s left bounced past surprised defenceman Frantisek Kaberle and right to Hilbert in the slot.
Satan made it 2-0 with 7:03 left in the second, taking a pass in the right circle from Blake Comeau and snapping a shot past Ward for his 11th.
Notes: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The Islanders are 16-2-4 when scoring first. Carolina is 10-20-2 in games it trailed 1-0. … The first penalties came with 6:05 left in the second when Tim Jackman fought Carolina D Tim Gleason. Commodore went off for hooking with 16.4 seconds remaining in the period for the Islanders’ only power play.