RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Once the Carolina Hurricanes finally figured out how to score at home, they just didn’t stop peppering New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro.
Carolina was shut out by Washington and Pittsburgh in its only other home games this season, but broke out in a big way with a 7-2 rout of the Islanders on Wednesday night.
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice thought his team was tense in the opening minutes against New York, but by the time the first period was over, Carolina had a 3-0 lead.
By the time Carolina finished scoring a season-high seven goals, there was no anxiety at all in the victorious dressing room.
“I didn’t want to go through that first period without scoring,” Maurice said. “It was good because then you don’t have to talk about (the scoreless streak) any more.”
Cam Ward made 31 saves, and Jon Matsumoto scored his first two NHL goals to pace the Hurricanes.
Joe Corvo, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty and Jeff Skinner also scored, Sergei Samsonov had three assists, and Chad LaRose and Tom Kostopoulos both helped set up two goals for the Hurricanes, who snapped a two-game losing streak. The seven goals were Carolina’s season high.
“It was pretty much the same kind of effort we’ve been getting,” Maurice said. “There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. (But) then we got on a roll, got a good feeling and started to do a lot of good things right for a while. Then coaches have fun after that.”
DiPietro played the whole game and allowed all seven goals on 32 shots as the Islanders lost their fifth straight game.
Michael Grabner and P.A. Parenteau had goals for the Islanders, who have been outscored 13-3 in their past two games — including a 6-1 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday night.
“We’re extremely disappointed,” New York defenseman Mike Mottau said. “We wanted to come out with a better effort after the loss in Philly. This team was struggling at home, and we wanted to take advantage of it. We didn’t put our best effort out there, and it showed on the scoreboard.”
The Hurricanes broke their home scoreless streak 10:12 into the first period when Corvo slapped a shot past a lunging DiPietro.
Samsonov was instrumental in the next goal, darting around the offensive zone before finding Matsumoto in front. Matsumoto shoveled a shot past DiPietro for his first goal.
Just over three minutes later, Samsonov centered the puck out of the corner to Staal, who sent a one-timer past DiPietro from the slot.
The Hurricanes then scored a pair of odd goals 43 seconds apart in the middle period.
DiPietro tried to freeze the puck in the crease under little pressure from the Hurricanes, but he couldn’t grab it. Sutter stole the puck and snapped a shot into the open net.
Tlusty then scored on a rebound off the end boards. Sutter fell into DiPietro before the goal, causing DiPietro to complain to the officials. Tlusty also clipped New York defenseman Radek Martinek in the face with his stick on his follow-through.
“They did a good job offensively, and we needed to tighten up defensively and not give them as much time and space,” Mottau said.
Grabner scored early in the third period to spoil Ward’s shutout bid.
Skinner and Parenteau then traded power-play goals before Matsumoto finished the scoring.
“(General manager) Jim Rutherford came down today and he just told us, ‘If you’re going to play in the league, at least have fun while you’re doing it,'” Matsumoto said. “It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning.”
Notes: Carolina D Joni Pitkanen left the game with an upper body injury in the second period and didn’t return. New York’s John Tavares took a high stick took the face in the second period and went to the dressing room for stitches. Skinner leads NHL rookies in scoring.