RALEIGH, N.C. – The New York Islanders kept drawing penalties and scoring goals. When they were in the penalty box, it was tough to tell which team actually had the advantage.
The Islanders tied a team record with three short-handed goals, two by Mike Sillinger, in a 6-3 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
“We’re not out to score any goals” while killing penalties, Sillinger said. “We knew that they have forwards that play the point, and if we could get a chance to take advantage of it, we would. But we weren’t out there to score goals. We just got some good bounces, some breakaways.”
Richard Park also scored down a man, Sean Bergenheim scored on a breakaway while being dragged down and Brendan Witt and Blake Comeau added late goals for the Islanders, who scored three short-handed goals for the third time in franchise history and first since 2000.
“The odd one once in a while is going to happen, but three in a game is unacceptable,” Carolina defenceman Mike Commodore said. “Those are supposed to be opportunities for us to score, and we didn’t do that.”
Radek Martinek and Trent Hunter both had two assists and Comeau assisted on a goal for New York, which broke a 1-all tie with three goals in the second period and won its fourth straight road game.
Eric Staal, Matt Cullen and Commodore scored for Carolina, which had its two-game winning streak ended and probably wished it could have declined New York’s penalties. The Southeast Division leaders have allowed an NHL-worst 10 short-handed goals and failed to generate a second straight rally from a two-goal deficit against the Islanders.
“The players that are up on the power play have to take the responsibility to do the right things at the right time with the pucks, and we didn’t,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
Cullen scored with 13 1/2 minutes remaining to pull Carolina within 4-3, but the Hurricanes – who had scored eight goals in the third period or later of their previous two games, both wins – couldn’t get anything else past Wade Dubielewicz. Rick DiPietro’s backup made 44 saves in his second victory in Raleigh in just over three weeks; he also beat the Hurricanes 4-1 on Dec. 31.
Cam Ward stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes before he was pulled with about two minutes left.
Sillinger’s first goal came after three Hurricanes collapsed on Hunter behind the net, and he found Sillinger in the slot for an easy goal.
“Right from then, they just seemed to break down,” Sillinger said.
He scored again early in the second, racing down the right side, swooping in front of the net and stuffing the rebound of his shot past Ward. That came 45 seconds after Park gave New York the lead for good. He capped a sequence that started when Martinek broke up a pass from Erik Cole and passed off the boards to Park, who wristed the puck past Ward.
“I got in a foot race, and I was fortunate enough to get a jump,” Park said.
Bergenheim pushed the lead to 4-1 when he got behind the Carolina defence, took a long pass from Miroslav Satan and, as he fell on his back, flipped the puck past Ward. Had Bergenheim not scored, he likely would have been awarded a penalty shot – a referee raised his arm as Frantisek Kaberle dragged him down during the shot.
“We lull for a few minutes or a period or whatever it is, and it seems like that’s all it takes and we’re down by three goals,” Commodore said.
Both teams scored during Islanders defenceman Andy Sutton’s time in the penalty box for high-sticking midway through the first. Less than 90 seconds after Sillinger’s first goal, Carolina tied it at 1-all on Staal’s redirection.
Commodore’s goal was flukey – his slap shot ricocheted off Witt’s skate and the knob of Dubielewicz’s stick before sailing into the net.
“I just said, ‘They didn’t earn that,”‘ Dubielewicz said. “They get another one, they’re going to have to earn it.”
Notes: LW Cory Stillman’s assist on Carolina’s first goal was his 100th with the Hurricanes. … The teams split the season series 2-2, with the visiting team winning all four meetings. Last season, the home team was 4-0 in the series.