RALEIGH, N.C. – Two games in two nights on an East Coast road swing didn’t bother the Phoenix Coyotes.
Lauri Korpikoski and Ray Whitney each had a goal and an assist to lead the Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night, a day after they won at Florida.
“We had the mindset that if we would come out and play well then we could get the four points,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “Even though we didn’t play as well as we liked all the time, we still got the four points and that’s a good sign.”
Cal O’Reilly and Rostislav Klesla also scored for Phoenix and Jason LaBarbera stopped 34 shots as the Coyotes improved to 4-1 in the second game of back-to-back contests.
Korpikoski scored the game-winner at 10:48 of the third period after being set up by Derek Morris and Whitney as Phoenix won for the first time in 13 games (1-11-1) when trailing at the start of the third period.
On the other side, Carolina suffered its first loss in regulation after holding a two-period lead, dropping to 9-1-2.
Kirk Muller, who coached his 10th game with the Hurricanes, said his team—which led 3-1 in the second period—still needs to find a way to finish games strong.
“What we have to learn is to be more resilient,” Muller said. “We got that third goal and I thought we were in good shape. When they got that second goal and you can see our body language and the team dropped its energy.
“That’s what we’ve got to get away from. We still had the lead, so I thought we were still in good shape.”
Tuomo Ruutu got his team-leading 11th goal for the Hurricanes, while Andreas Nodl and Jiri Tlusty also scored. Carolina goalie Cam Ward finished with 15 saves.
Phoenix cut the margin to 3-2 with 6:36 left in the second when O’Reilly beat Ward high on the glove side. The Coyotes tied it early in the third period as Klesla got his first goal of the season at 4:20.
Whitney, a former Hurricanes player, opened the scoring when his blast from the left point on the power play at 2:16 of the first period got by Ward.
“Certainly getting that first one was a relief for me,” said Whitney, who leads the Coyotes with 32 points. “It gives you a little bit of confidence and you get it out of the way.”
Carolina tied it seven minutes later when Ruutu scored from just outside the crease after taking a rebound and flicking it past LaBarbera at 9:21.
The Hurricanes scored twice in the second period as Nodl got his first goal for Carolina at 5:29, and Tlusty scored his seventh of the season after rushing up the left wing and blasting a drive by LaBarbera.
NOTES: Carolina D Jaroslav Spacek got an assist to give him four points (1g, 3a) since being acquired from Montreal five games ago. … Whitney has 11 career goals against Carolina and registered multiple points in both games of the road trip. … Klesla broke a 41-game goal-scoring drought with his tally in the third. … The Hurricanes were 0 of 3 on the power play, while Phoenix converted 1 of 2 chances.