for this game

Stillman completes comeback for Hurricanes

Jan 5, 2008 - 4:42 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- In his 800th career game, Cory Stillman proved he still can score goals.

Stillman completed a comeback during a 5-on-3 power play with 3:23 remaining in the third period, lifting the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday.

Eric Staal had a goal and two assists and rookie defenseman Casey Borer netted his first NHL tally and set up another for the Hurricanes, who halted a three-game slide.

"It was a big win for us, obviously," said Stillman, whose team increased its lead over Atlanta in the Southeast Division to five points. "We know that. Anytime you're playing in your own division, games end up being four-point games."

With Thrashers captain Bobby Holik serving a delay-of-game penalty and defenseman Ken Klee in the box for high-sticking, Ray Whitney made a cross-slot pass from the top of the right faceoff circle to Stillman, who shoveled the puck into a vacant left side of the net for his 19th goal of the campaign.

"It was sort of a broken play," the 34-year-old Stillman said. "I was in a spot where I'm not supposed to be. Ray Whitney made a great pass. I had the wide-open net to put it in. It barely went in."

Stillman began his NHL career in 1994-95 with the Calgary Flames, who drafted him sixth overall in 1992. The 14-year forward can thank fellow veteran Rod Brind'Amour for the goal, as the Hurricanes' captain created traffic in front of Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen on the play.

"It's tough when you are trying to see through traffic," Lehtonen said. "They got a lot of guys in front. I have to find a way to see better, either over guys or around them. I think that's been a problem the last couple of games."

Stillman's goal completed a run of three unanswered tallies by Carolina, which suffered an overtime loss in the opener of the home-and-home series between the division rivals on Wednesday.

"We had an opportunity to put them away, and we didn't," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said. "We gave them life. They're a team we know can score. We gave them life and we couldn't get that next one to bury them."

Carolina found itself trailing just 32 seconds into the contest.

Atlanta rookie defenseman Tobias Enstrom's shot from just inside the blue line bounced off teammate Todd White before landing on the stick of Mark Recchi. The 39-year-old tipped in the puck from near the left goalpost for his ninth goal of the season and a 1-0 edge.

The Thrashers doubled the lead at 12:15 of the first period. Superstar Ilya Kovalchuk slid a cross-crease pass from the right faceoff circle to a wide-open White, who beat netminder Michael Leighton from the doorstep for his 10th tally.

Recchi also recorded an assist on the play, giving him 14 points in 13 games with Atlanta since being claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 8.

Carolina halved the deficit just 27 seconds into the second period, when Whitney fired a slap shot from the top of the slot past Lehtonen for his 20th goal.

Lehtonen also was partially responsible for the next two tallies.

Shortly after the 24-year-old Finn was whistled for tripping at 3:21 of the second, Atlanta's Pascual Dupuis netted his team-leading third shorthanded goal of the season for a 3-1 advantage.

Dupuis took advantage of Carolina defenseman Frantisek Kaberle's turnover in the offensive zone and fed the puck to Eric Perrin for a 2-on-1 rush. Perrin slid a backhand return pass to Dupuis, who found the open side of the net at 3:40.

But the Hurricanes roared back with two unanswered tallies to tie the contest. Staal cut the deficit to 3-2 just 90 seconds after Dupuis' goal, deflecting Jeff Hamilton's slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past Lehtonen for his team-leading 22nd goal of the season and sixth in seven games.

Borer tied the contest at 16:35 of the session, when he put a wrister from just inside the blue line past a screened Lehtonen for his first career goal.

"Coach told us to shoot on net, so I did," said Borer, Carolina's third-round pick in 2004. "I just shot it on net. I like to play. I'm going to try to be more confident. I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can."

Leighton set aside 23 shots in his debut for the Hurricanes. The 26-year-old journeyman was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Thursday after John Grahame was placed on waivers.

"I was definitely surprised when I got the callup," said Leighton, who had a 2.14 goals-against average with the River Rats. "About an hour after, they told me I was starting (tonight). It would have been nice to get a week (of practice) in, but I just had to do it. I felt good in the second and third periods. A win is a win."

Lehtonen made 29 saves for the Thrashers, who fell to 4-13-0 when Kovalchuk fails to score a goal.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 1 4
    ATLANTA 2 1 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARK RECCHI 9 (TODD WHITE, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 0:32
    ATL - TODD WHITE 10 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, MARK RECCHI) 12:15
    2ND PRD: CAR - RAY WHITNEY 20 (ERIC STAAL, MIKE COMMODORE) 0:27
    ATL - (SH) PASCAL DUPUIS 7 (ERIC PERRIN) 3:

    Jan 4 10:05 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 4
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: CAR - (PP) CORY STILLMAN 19 (RAY WHITNEY, ERIC STAAL) 16:37

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 9:59 PM
  • 21
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 44 roots (Close Finish)

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 9:59 PM
  • 65
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 55 roots (Close Finish)

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 9:53 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 3
    ATLANTA 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARK RECCHI 9 (TODD WHITE, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 0:32
    ATL - TODD WHITE 10 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, MARK RECCHI) 12:15
    2ND PRD: CAR - RAY WHITNEY 20 (ERIC STAAL, MIKE COMMODORE) 0:27
    ATL - (SH) PASCAL DUPUIS 7 (ER

    Jan 4 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 3
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - CASEY BORER 1 (KEITH AUCOIN, CORY STILLMAN) 16:35

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIC STAAL 22 (JEFF HAMILTON, CASEY BORER) 5:10

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 1
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: ATL - (SH) PASCAL DUPUIS 7 (ERIC PERRIN) 3:40

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 1
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: CAR - RAY WHITNEY 20 (ERIC STAAL, MIKE COMMODORE) 0:27

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 8:35 PM
  • 5
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 8:21 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    ATLANTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARK RECCHI 9 (TODD WHITE, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 0:32
    ATL - TODD WHITE 10 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, MARK RECCHI) 12:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAR 7 7
    ATL

    Jan 4 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - TODD WHITE 10 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, MARK RECCHI) 12:15

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 8:02 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARK RECCHI 9 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, ILYA KOVALCHUK) 0:32

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersJan 4 7:41 PM