|PHX||1||1||2||(0 - 0)||4|
|CAR||1||2||0||(0 - 0)||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.
|PPG - Ray Whitney (12) ASST: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (7), Martin Hanzal (14)|
1 - 0 PHX
|Tuomo Ruutu (11) ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (5), Jussi Jokinen (16)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Andreas Nodl (1) ASST: Jaroslav Spacek (6)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Jiri Tlusty (7) ASST: Justin Faulk (4), Jay Harrison (8)|
3 - 1 CAR
|Cal O'Reilly (2) ASST: David Rundblad (4), Kyle Chipchura (4)|
3 - 2 CAR
|Rostislav Klesla (1) ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (7), Daymond Langkow (10)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Lauri Korpikoski (9) ASST: Derek Morris (7), Ray Whitney (20)|
4 - 3 PHX
|Jay Harrison Interference against Lauri Korpikoski|
|Derek Morris Interference against Anthony Stewart|
|Boyd Gordon Hooking against Jiri Tlusty|
|Derek Morris Tripping against Alexei Ponikarovsky|
|Martin Hanzal Slashing against Jussi Jokinen|
|Jussi Jokinen Cross checking against Martin Hanzal|
|SA: 37||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 34||EV: 27 - 30|
|PIM: 0||PP: 7 - 7|
|SV%: .919||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 19||TOI: 58:53|
|Saves: 15||EV: 14 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 2|
|SV%: .789||SH: 0 - 0|