for this game

Hurricanes top Coyotes behind Staal hat trick

Nov 22, 2008 - 5:36 AM RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Carolina Hurricanes were in search of their first three-game winning streak of the season. Eric Staal did his best to make it happen.

Staal recorded his fifth career hat trick as the Hurricanes posted their third straight win Friday, a 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ray Whitney added a pair of goals and defenseman Joni Pitkanen collected three assists for the Hurricanes, who improved to 3-0-0 on their four-game homestand.

Kevin Porter and captain Shane Doan scored for Phoenix, which has lost four straight (0-3-1).

"Ultimately, we're not happy with the fact that we didn't win," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "I thought that we played very solid hockey tonight. We just don't score enough when we need to score to separate ourselves. ... We're just a little snake-bitten right now."

After Porter gave the Coyotes the lead nine minutes into the contest with a power-play goal, Staal drew the Hurricanes even with 4:44 remaining in the first period, firing the puck past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from the doorstep after Sergei Samsonov's backhander from the high slot was blocked.

The goal ended an eight-game drought for Staal.

"It was a matter of keeping positive, keeping attacking and getting to those traffic areas," he said. "I'm a big body, I've got a lot of reach, so I try to focus on getting to those spots, and some of the guys made some great plays for me to capitalize on.

"You can't change your game. I know I can score in this league, and I know I can contribute offensively, but sometimes the puck doesn't bounce your way, it doesn't fall. You can't get down on yourself, you can't get down on anybody else around you. ... It was nice tonight to contribute offensively for a change."

Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward was glad to see Staal finally break through.

"Never once did anybody in this locker room worry about Eric," Ward said. "Even when he's not scoring, he brings something to the game. I thought he played really well defensively. But it's nice to see him get rewarded for the hard work. He has been frustrated. But I'm sure he's going to get a lot more (goals) than that, I guarantee it.

"It was a matter of time before Staaler was going to break out, and tonight he played a heck of a game, and I'm extremely happy for him."

Doan put Phoenix back in front less than two minutes later with his team-leading 11th goal of the season, but Staal netted two straight tallies to give Carolina the lead for good.

Exactly eight minutes into the middle session, Staal converted a backhand pass from the right side of the net by Pitkanen, beating Bryzgalov with a backhander for his seventh of the campaign. The 24-year-old completed his hat trick with 46 seconds left in the period, depositing the puck inside the right goalpost after receiving a backhand feed from below the end line on the left side by Scott Walker, who notched a pair of assists.

"When (Staal) breaks out, he breaks out in a big way," Whitney said. "He didn't just score them when they didn't matter, like I did. He scored them when they counted. Obviously, he's the biggest part of our hockey club, and we've been having some success without him being the Eric Staal that we know. ... If we can continue to play the way we are as a team and have him doing like he did tonight, obviously we're going to be a much better team."

The Coyotes knew Staal was ready for a breakout performance.

"He had one of those games where the puck was bouncing for him," Doan said. "He was in front of the net at the right times. When you're struggling, going to the net usually works well. He is such a great player and capable offensively, it was only a matter of time before he got going. He got going tonight."

"He is a talented player and he hadn't scored in a while," added Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, who recorded an assist. "He came out tonight and I think we gave him a little too much room. He took advantage of that."

Staal was pleased to accomplish his feat with Gretzky in attendance.

"He's the best player of all-time, and anytime you get to play in a game that he loves and we all love, and he's watching, coaching against you, it definitely adds a little bit more to the game," Staal said. "I wanted to show my stuff and be ready to play, and ultimately help our team get a win."

"He's too good of a player. Eventually, a guy like that is going to get some goals," Gretzky said of Staal's scoring drought. "A guy his caliber is just too good not to be scoring. We knew that was going to happen. Unfortunately, it happened tonight."

Whitney made it 4-2 with 2:21 remaining in the third, burying a one-timer from the top of the slot off a feed from captain Rod Brind'Amour. The veteran then sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Ward made 26 saves for the Hurricanes, turning aside the final 14 shots he faced.

"I thought Cam played well tonight," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "He had to make some big saves for us early on, killing penalties when we had the high-sticking trouble. Then at the end, he made some big saves. He did a good job for us."

Making his 11th consecutive start, Bryzgalov stopped 28 shots for Phoenix.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 2 0 0 2
    CAROLINA 1 2 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHO - (PP) KEVIN PORTER 4 (KEITH YANDLE, ED JOVANOVSKI) 8:56
    CAR - ERIC STAAL 6 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, TUOMO RUUTU) 15:16
    PHO - SHANE DOAN 11 (UNASSISTED) 17:03
    2ND PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 7 (JONI PITKANEN, NICLAS WALLIN) 8:

    Nov 21 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 2
    CAROLINA 5
    3RD PRD: CAR - (EN) RAY WHITNEY 7 (SCOTT WALKER, JONI PITKANEN) 19:29

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 5  3rd - 0:31Nov 21 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 2
    CAROLINA 4
    3RD PRD: CAR - RAY WHITNEY 6 (ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 17:39

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 4  3rd - 2:21Nov 21 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 2 0 2
    CAROLINA 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHO - (PP) KEVIN PORTER 4 (KEITH YANDLE, ED JOVANOVSKI) 8:56
    CAR - ERIC STAAL 6 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, TUOMO RUUTU) 15:16
    PHO - SHANE DOAN 11 (UNASSISTED) 17:03
    2ND PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 7 (JONI PITKANEN, NICL

    Nov 21 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 2
    CAROLINA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 8 (SCOTT WALKER, JONI PITKANEN) 19:14

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 3  2nd - 0:46Nov 21 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 2
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 7 (JONI PITKANEN, NICLAS WALLIN) 8:00

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 2  2nd - 12:00Nov 21 8:17 PM
  • 5
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 1  End of 1stNov 21 8:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 2 2
    CAROLINA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHO - (PP) KEVIN PORTER 4 (KEITH YANDLE, ED JOVANOVSKI) 8:56
    CAR - ERIC STAAL 6 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, TUOMO RUUTU) 15:16
    PHO - SHANE DOAN 11 (UNASSISTED) 17:03
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    ---

    Nov 21 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 2
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: PHO - SHANE DOAN 11 (UNASSISTED) 17:03

    Coyotes 2, Hurricanes 1  1st - 2:57Nov 21 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 6 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, TUOMO RUUTU) 15:16

    Coyotes 1, Hurricanes 1  1st - 4:44Nov 21 7:39 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 1
    CAROLINA 0
    1ST PRD: PHO - (PP) KEVIN PORTER 4 (KEITH YANDLE, ED JOVANOVSKI) 8:56

    Coyotes 1, Hurricanes 0  1st - 11:04Nov 21 7:24 PM