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Cullen's hat trick helps Hurricanes storm Avalanche

Feb 22, 2009 - 11:47 PM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Matt Cullen helped the Carolina Hurricanes end their futility against the Colorado Avalanche.

Cullen netted his first career hat trick to lead the Hurricanes to their third straight win, a 5-2 victory over the Avalanche on Sunday.

Defenseman Joni Pitkanen recorded a goal and an assist and Ryan Bayda also scored for the Hurricanes (31-25-5), who have won four of their last five contests to move within one point of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We've been playing some pretty good playoff hockey, I think," Cullen said. "We've made a good commitment to playing defense, and it's showing. We've been putting enough pucks in the net."

"You look at the standings and you say, 'You're always chasing eighth.' But we're four points out of fourth," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Staying in the fight, it's all controlling your emotions.

Ray Whitney and Chad LaRose collected two assists apiece and Cam Ward made 17 saves for Carolina, which defeated the Avalanche for the first time since moving from Hartford. The franchise's previous win over Colorado was February 9, 1996.

Wojtek Wolski and Darcy Tucker tallied and Andrew Raycroft stopped 34 shots for the Avalanche, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"We played against a real desperate hockey team," Colorado defenseman Adam Foote said. "They played hard tonight. I think we have to get back to where we had our success the last three nights.

"We got caught standing early. They were really on the puck. They were really moving. We were playing a team that was one point out."

Pitkanen gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 edge with 2:54 left in the middle session, fighting off a defender and punching in a rebound of Tuomo Ruutu's shot from the slot for his sixth goal of the season.

"They were controlling the play because we were turning the puck over," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said.

"I think it's our puck management that still has to get cleaned up. For us to get to the next level, we've got to get our forwards to do a much better job of collectively managing the puck, and if we do that, we're going to be in really good shape."

Bayda provided some breathing room at 8:49 of the third period and Cullen sent the hats showering to ice with an empty-netter with 32 ticks to play.

"Matt's just got a lot of confidence," Maurice said.

After Wolski opened the scoring 59 seconds into the contest, Cullen leveled the game exactly seven minutes into the first period.

"It was a physical game," Cullen said. "I was really happy with the way we responded. I thought we played a physical game and responded."

The 32-year-old Cullen also scored 79 ticks into the second, converting a wraparound to give Carolina a 2-1 bulge.






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    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 5  FinalFeb 23 1:57 AM
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    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 5  FinalFeb 22 8:30 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1 0 2
    CAROLINA 1 2 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 14 (UNASSISTED) 0:59
    CAR - MATT CULLEN 17 (CHAD LAROSE, JONI PITKANEN) 7:00
    2ND PRD: CAR - MATT CULLEN 18 (CHAD LAROSE, RAY WHITNEY) 1:19
    COL - DARCY TUCKER 6 (CHRIS STEWART, BRETT CLARK) 2:12
    CAR

    Feb 22 5:38 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    CAROLINA 5
    3RD PRD: CAR - (EN) MATT CULLEN 19 (RAY WHITNEY) 19:28

    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 5  3rd - 0:32Feb 22 5:36 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    CAROLINA 4
    3RD PRD: CAR - RYAN BAYDA 5 (JUSSI JOKINEN, ANTON BABCHUK) 8:49

    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 4  3rd - 11:11Feb 22 5:16 PM
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    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 3  3rd - 12:00Feb 22 5:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1 2
    CAROLINA 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 14 (UNASSISTED) 0:59
    CAR - MATT CULLEN 17 (CHAD LAROSE, JONI PITKANEN) 7:00
    2ND PRD: CAR - MATT CULLEN 18 (CHAD LAROSE, RAY WHITNEY) 1:19
    COL - DARCY TUCKER 6 (CHRIS STEWART, BRETT CLA

    Feb 22 4:45 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    CAROLINA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - JONI PITKANEN 6 (TUOMO RUUTU, DENNIS SEIDENBERG) 17:06

    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 3  2nd - 2:54Feb 22 4:40 PM
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    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 2  2nd - 10:00Feb 22 4:23 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: COL - DARCY TUCKER 6 (CHRIS STEWART, BRETT CLARK) 2:12

    Avalanche 2, Hurricanes 2  2nd - 17:48Feb 22 4:11 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: CAR - MATT CULLEN 18 (CHAD LAROSE, RAY WHITNEY) 1:19

    Avalanche 1, Hurricanes 2  2nd - 18:41Feb 22 4:09 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1
    CAROLINA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 14 (UNASSISTED) 0:59
    CAR - MATT CULLEN 17 (CHAD LAROSE, JONI PITKANEN) 7:00
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 5 5
    CAR 10

    Feb 22 3:48 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - MATT CULLEN 17 (CHAD LAROSE, JONI PITKANEN) 7:00

    Avalanche 1, Hurricanes 1  1st - 13:00Feb 22 3:24 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    CAROLINA 0
    1ST PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 14 (UNASSISTED) 0:59

    Avalanche 1, Hurricanes 0  1st - 19:01Feb 22 3:13 PM