By Eric Hornick
Carolina 7, Islanders 2
Jon Matsumoto, playing just his second NHL game, scored a pair of goals and five other Hurricanes also scored as Carolina, who had blanked in their first two games in Raleigh, handed the Islanders their fifth straight loss with a 7-2 victory at the RBC Centre in Raleigh, North Carolina.
All Carolina on the Scoreboard
While the Isles had the better of the play early, it was Carolina who would grab a 3-0 first period lead as Joe Corvo and Eric Staal sandwiched Matsumoto's first goal. It's the fifth straight game that the Isles have allowed the first goal; the Isles are 0-5-2 this season when allowing the opening goal. The Isles have now been outscored 14-6 in the first period. Staal's goal was his 196th for the Hurricanes, passing Geoff Sanderson for 5th place in franchise history.
Got Worse in the Second
The second period was even on the scoreboard for the first 9 ½ minutes and the last 9 ½. However, Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty scored 43 seconds apart in the middle of the period to give the Hurricanes a 5-0 lead after two. It was Sutter's 25th career goal and his first against the Isles; his father Brent won two Stanley Cup rings with the Islanders. The Isles had 4:40 of continuous power play late in the period but failed to dent the twine behind Cam Ward.
Two Each in the Third
Michael Grabner finally got the Isles on the board at 2:12 of the third –it was only the 17th even strength goal of the season for the Isles. After rookie Joel Skinner's power play tally restored a five goal lead for Carolina, PA Parenteau responded with an Islander power play goal, but Matsumoto's second goal, with just 34 seconds to play provided the final differential. 7-2 Carolina. Final.
The Fighting Z
Zenon Konopka began the night leading the NHL in both fighting majors (6) and penalty minutes (50). He wasted little time extending his leads with a first period bout with Jay Harrison, who was celebrating his 28th birthday.
In the Nets
Cam Ward continued his career domination of the Isles, making 31 saves as he improves to 11-2-1 against the Islanders.
Rick DiPietro made 25 saves but allowed at least seven goals for only the second time in his career. He allowed eight goals on March 11, 2008 in Tampa. DiPietro has allowed 17 goals in his last three starts, all losses (5.67 GAA).
After going 0-12 on the power play in the last two games, the Isles converted on a 3rd period advantage and finished 1-4 on the power play (including a 1:20 5-on-3). Carolina also was 1-4 on the power play.
In the Circle
The Isles won 18 of 22 draws in the first period (81.8%) and 37 of 63 draws overall (59%). Zenon Konopka won 13 of 20.
Tom Kotsiopoulos and Joe Corvo were +4 for Carolina, while Sergei Samsonov was +3. Samsonov also had 3 assists and is 12-20-32 in 38 career games vs. the Isles. James Wisniewski and Rob Schremp were -4 while Josh Bailey and Radek Martinek were -3.
Three Sets of Five?
This was the tenth game in a 15 game stretch that finds the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home. After going 3-1-1 in the first five, they have now lost five straight. The current road trip concludes in Ottawa on Thursday; the Isles will host the Flyers on Saturday, before heading to California for three games to complete this stretch.
Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald remain out for extended periods while Milan Jurcina is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Rob Schremp, recovered from a back injury made his season debut but was -4; Grabner returned after missing three games. With all of the forwards (except Okposo) healthy, Trevor Gillies was a healthy scratch while Jon Sim joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after clearing waivers.
Sim Stars on the Farm
Playing his first AHL game of the season, Jon Sim had a hat trick and the shootout winning goal earlier in the day on Wednesday as the Sound Tigers defeated Springfield 6-5.
The Isles allowed a season high seven goals. In their last seven games, the Isles have allowed 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6, and 7 goals.
Season Series Stats
The Hurricanes lead the season series 1 game to none. The teams will next meet at the Coliseum on January 26th. The Canes have won 3 straight against the Islanders, outscoring them 14-4 and are 7-0-2 in their last nine against the Isles.
The Islanders had won two straight on this date. In 2007, Al Arbour's 1500th game behind the bench produced a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh. In 2008, a Chris Campoli overtime tally gave the Isles a win in Columbus.
This was the first-half of the third of 20 sets of back-to-backs for the Isles this season. (Only Buffalo (22) and Carolina (21) have more.) The Isles are 0-2-1 on the front end and 1-1-0 on the back end.
Thursday, November 4th- Islanders @ Ottawa Senators 7:30pm
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 7:00pm), WRHU 88.7FM]
The road trip concludes in Ottawa on Thursday with the back-end of the back-to-backs. It's the first meeting of the season with the Senators. Both meetings last season in Ottawa went to extra time, with the Senators winning once in overtime and once in a shootout.
Both the Islanders (4-6-2) and Senators (5-6-1) have played 12 games, with the Sens holding a one point lead in the standings. The Sens are led by Daniel Alfredsson (6-7-13), who played in his 1,000th NHL game in April and recorded his 1,000th NHL point earlier this season.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.