The Hurricanes struck first at 13:58 of the first when Kevyn Adams redirected a blue line bomb by Oleg Tverdovsky one second after a hooking penalty to Alex Zhitnik expired. Frank Kaberle got the secondary assist. It was Adams' seventh goal of the season, and the only time he has scored more than zero but fewer than three goals. To set the table, we need to back up a bit first.
At 11:14, Justin Williams checked Godard hard into the boards, and was called for interference. With play stopped and lines changing, Godard suckerpunched Williams. In the opinion of about 14,000 in the building, there should have been a game misconduct and a match penalty for the attack, but there was only a double minor (charging and roughing). I'm guessing that Godard will be fined and possibly suspended by the league, but they haven't been exactly heavy handed with fines this season (for example, Darcy Tucker).
For the rest of the game, Godard was a marked man, and the Canes took no less than two penalties trying to retaliate against him. They also spent too much energy. Probably the right thing to do would have been to have someone take one for the team by instigating a fight with him immediately after the incident. It would have cleared the air and let us move on. Instead, this will carry over to Saturday night on the back end of the home and home. It might get ugly.
Godard thought he was getting the last laugh when he equalized the score at one at 5:37 of the second. The rebound chance helped him notch only his second goal of the season. Helpers were from Aaron Asham and
However, it was Carolina who was the better disciplined team, and managed to put themselves in a two man advantage situation late in the second. At the 19:36 mark, Cory Stillman stuffed one in from close range with assists from Viva and Ray "The Wizard" Whitney. Stillman now has 13 goals, and has extended his points streak to ten games.
Early in the third, with Carolina still on a power play, Rod Brind'Amour scored his 17th goal of the season at 1:08, which was nicely set up by the Wizard and Kaberle.
With a little less than a minute to play, the Isles pulled their keeper, and Viva got his just desserts by potting an empty net goal at 19:27. It was his 16th goal of the season. Kevyn Adams got an assist.
Overall, it wasn't the prettiest game in the world, and there may be some lingering hostilities from "the incident" in Saturday's game. Nonetheless, Carolina will gladly take the two points.
From a statistical standpoint, not bad. Carolina went 2-7 on the power play and killed off all four of the Islanders' power plays. The Canes are now 17-4-1 on home ice, which is tops in the league. Also tops in the league is their winning per centage when scoring first. Including tonight's game, the Canes are 18-1 when scoring first. That's a 94.7% success rate for the non-mathematically inclined. Thanks to my friend Amanda for pointing out that gem of a stat. Next best is Ottawa, who is 21-2 when striking first (84%).
I think there's some crazy stat about how the Canes have won every game in which Ray Whitney has tallied an assist. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I seem to recall hearing that.
Eric Staal wasn't much of a factor (missed a breakaway chance), and Erik Cole was damn near invisible, but the other leg of the tripod kept it going and some of the other guys stepped it up. Word on the street is that there's a little of the flu bug going around the room. Hopefully the rumor is unfounded, or they get over it really quick.
The Canes are now leading the Southeast Division by 11 points with two games in hand on the Bolts. Up next, the tail end of the Islanders home-and-home takes us to the Nassau Coliseum. Then rest, then the dreaded Red Wings come to town for a possible Stanley Cup Finals preview.