Coyotes 4, Hurricanes 3
By Kurt Dusterberg | NHL.com Correspondent
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ray Whitney didn't need long to reward his friends and neighbors in attendance for his return to Carolina.
Whitney scored the first goal of the game at 2:18 of the first period, then added an assist on the game-winner as the Coyotes overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Hurricanes, 4-3, at the RBC Center on Wednesday night.
Whitney, who signed a two-year deal with Phoenix prior to the 2010-11 season, was making his return to Carolina after five seasons in Raleigh that included winning the 2006 Stanley Cup. A large contingent of his friends made plenty of noise in support of the ex-Hurricane.
After the opening goal - Whitney's second power-play tally in two nights after scoring in a 2-1 win at Florida on Tuesday - it looked like his return might be spoiled by the Hurricanes (10-19-6).
Tuomo Ruutu tied the scoree before the first intermission, netting the rebound of an Alexei Ponikarovsky shot. Carolina then caught a couple of breaks in the second period, beginning when Andreas Nodl scored from the slot after an awkward bounce off a dump-in. The Hurricanes went up 3-1 when Jiri Tlusty's seemingly harmless shot from the wing slipped under Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera.
"I took my eye off of it," said LaBarbera, who stopped 34 shots. "I saw the guy on the wing, and I glanced over to see who was coming down the middle and I lost the puck. But after that, you need to stay focused and make your plays when you have the chance."
The rest of the Coyotes (18-13-3) did their part, with three unanswered goals.
"We hung around," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "Even after the second period, I heard our guys talking. We felt like we had a chance to win the game."
|Photo by Getty Images.
The comeback started with Cal O'Reilly, who cut the deficit to 3-2 with his second goal of the season. O'Reilly cut across the slot on his forehand and slipped an against-the-grain shot over the glove of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward.
The rest of the effort was orchestrated by Lauri Korpikoski. With the Coyotes trailing 3-2 entering the third period, Korpikoski set up Rostislav Klesla for his first goal of the season at 4:20 and then scored his ninth of the season at 10:48 (see KEY MOMENT below) to give the Coyotes their second win in as many nights.
The Hurricanes (10-19-6) have yet to find much magic in the Kirk Muller coaching era. The team is just 2-6-2 under the new head coach.
"When Phoenix got that second goal, you could see our body language, and the team kind of dropped their energy," Muller said. "We’ve got to get away from that. We have to get mentally tougher."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
With the score tied 3-3 and the teams playing four-on-four in the middle of the third period, Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski
skated the puck through the neutral zone and then dropped the puck behind him to defenseman Derek Morris
along the right boards.
Morris then skated the puck around the Carolina goal and dished it back to Korpikoski in the low slot. Korpikoski slapped the puck past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward with 9:12 left in the third period.
"(Morris) had great patience, coming behind the net," Korpikoski said. "I kind of whacked at it once it came in there. I think it hit somebody and it went high, but I'll take it."
► Click here
to watch the KEY MOMENT
• Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera
started in place of Mike Smith
, who suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Florida. Smith is considered day-to-day. Justin Pogge, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Wednesday morning, served as LaBarbera's backup.
• Defenseman David Rundblad
, whom the Coyotes acquired from Ottawa in the trade that sent center Kyle Turris to the Senators, made his Phoenix debut. Paired with former Team Sweden teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson
, Rundblad played 14:04. He blocked two shots, delivered one hit and notched his first point with Phoenix when he assisted on Cal O'Reilly
's goal in the second period.
• The Coyotes posted their first win in a game in which they trailed at the start of the third period (1-11-1).
• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla
broke a 41-game goal-scoring drought when he scored early in the third period.
• The Coyotes scratched Boyd Gordon
, Martin Hanzal
and David Rundblad
• The Coyotes' next game is Friday vs. the St. Louis Blues at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
||"Coming out and seeing all the familiar faces and the signs, it made you feel like you did something good when you were here. This is home. This will be home when I'm done."
||"The way he (Cam Ward) had his stick, that was my only shot -- to pull it in and get it up. It's a shot that you can catch goalies with sometimes if you get it in the right spot."
||"We’ve got to find a way to find that killer instinct and not feel sorry for ourselves and not show u. When it’s not happening you need someone to step up and I wasn’t there tonight - and nobody else was either.”
|Three star selections