The Carolina Hurricanes engaged in a run-and-gun game Monday with the New York Islanders, overcoming poor penalty killing to secure a 6-4 road victory at Nassau Coliseum.
The Canes, 3-1-1 on their road trip, trailed 3-2 entering the final period. But the Isles were overwhelmed by the playmaking and skill of Carolina's top line of Eric Staal, Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty -- who combined for four goals and nine points in the third -- and the Canes (6-4-1) did manage to kill off a penalty late in regulation to preserve the lead.
"We find a way to (get) the points, which is a big key for our team and we have to keep it rolling," Tlusty said. "Our third period has been really strong. We came out really hard tonight (in the third) and wore the D down. That was the plan."
Tlusty had two goals, including a late empty-netter that sealed the victory, and two assists for his first career four-point game. Semin, playing perhaps his best overall game for the Canes, scored his 200th career goal while adding two assists and Staal pushed his point streak to nine games with a goal and an assist. All three finished plus-4 for the game.
"I think we slowly took over the game as it went on," Eric Staal said. "Besides getting in penalty trouble, we were on their defense, we were really controlling pucks down low and making it tough on them. Besides giving them momentum by giving them power plays, we really controlled the game as the game went on, especially in the third period."
Jeff Skinner and Tim Wallace also scored for the Canes, who face the surging New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night to end the six-game, 12-day road swing, which will be their longest of the season.
The Islanders (4-7-1) scored on their first four power plays, as Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky notched the goals. Tavares and Moulson scored in the second period to give the Isles the 3-2 lead.
The Isles were 0-for-22 on the power play in their past four games but found the holes in the Canes' coverage.
"I think we will have a big learning session after this game," Tlusty said of the porous penalty killing. "It was not a good night for us."
Tlusty's first goal, 30 seconds into the third, tied the score 3-3 and came when Semin spotted him in front of Isles goalie Rick DiPietro. Semin scored at 5:33, his shot nicking the glove of Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, and Staal at 9:09 for a 5-3 lead.
Staal's goal came after a Jay Harrison blast from the point, the puck hitting Tlusty and then off Staal's skate.
A interference call against Tlusty led to Visnovsky's power-play goal at 11:32 of the third that made it a 5-4 game. But the Canes did kill off a tripping penalty by Eric Staal -- the call at 13:50 -- and Tlusty finished it off with the empty-net goal.
Nielsen's power-play goal in the first got the Isles rolling on special teams. The Canes tied it 1-1 with some aggressive play from its fourth line, as Wallace was credited with his first goal as a Hurricane when Jamie McBain's shot nicked Wallace's skate.
McBain, reinserted in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday against the Flyers, had a team-high six blocked shots. Forward Andreas Nodl, also back in the lineup, earned his first point of the season with an assist on Wallace's goal.
Tavares, who has tormented the Canes the past couple of seasons, scored the Isles' second power-play goal on a rebound for a 2-1 lead in the second. But Skinner quickly answered, firing off a bullet of a shot from the slot through traffic.
Skinner's seventh goal of the season gave him a five-game point streak. Jordan Staal, who assisted on the Skinner score, also extended his streak to five games.
Cam Ward had 24 saves for the Canes and DiPietro, making his second start of the season, had 25.
"We just keep finding ways to win," Muller said.
The Canes did not beat the Islanders last season and Muller noted, "They give us a tough time. They've got good speed and love to go offensive, and in the past we've got caught up playing their game.
"So we tried to tighten things up and spend more time in their zone. Five on five, I thought we played a strong game, probably the best of the trip."
The loss was the fifth straight for the Isles, who are 1-5-0 at Nassau this season.