Islanders down 'Canes, clinch playoffs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Mariusz Czerkawski and Adrian Aucoin each scored
twice, helping the New York Islanders clinch their third straight
playoff appearance with a 6-4 victory Friday night over the Carolina
New York secured the final post-season berth in the Eastern
Conference, eliminating Buffalo from the race. The Islanders are only
one point behind Montreal for seventh place, with each team having
one game remaining.
The Islanders qualified for the playoffs in three straight years for
the first time since a 14-year run from 1975-88. They were helped
when Carolina had a goal waved off that would've tied it 2-2.
New York quickly responded with four straight goals within a span of
7:27 to take a 6-1 lead into the third period.
Carolina enforcer Jesse Boulerice had two goals, but the Hurricanes'
NHL-worst power play failed them again in going 0-for-4. The unit
managed only one shot during a two-man advantage in the second.
Rod Brind'Amour and Eric Staal scored in the third to bring Carolina
The Hurricanes thought they'd got even at 2-2 early in the second
period, but the officials referees said the whistle blew before Josef
Vasicek's shot went in.
Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes was pulled midway through the game after
giving up five goals on 17 shots. Eric Cole fired wide on a penalty
shot with 5:46 left.
The Islanders opened the scoring on the power play 11:57 in. Oleg
Kvasha drew Weekes to the right side of the net, then Alexei Yashin
passed through traffic to Czerkawski on the open left side to make it
Aucoin made it 2-0 just a minute later, intercepting a bad Hurricanes
pass near center ice and scoring on the rebound of his long shot.
Carolina got on the board at 14:19 of the first as Boulerice scored
against Rick DiPietro from just above the crease.
The Islanders put the game out of reach in the second. Czerkawski's
second goal made it 3-1 two minutes in. Yashin and Trent Hunter added
goals 44 seconds apart to send Weekes to the bench in favour of
Arturs Irbe. Aucoin's second goal made it 6-1 at 14:12.
Boulerice made it 6-2 six minutes into the third, bouncing the puck
off the shin of Islanders defenceman Eric Cairns and past DiPietro.
Notes: Carolina, which didn't qualify for the playoffs, were without
forward who was injured his torso earlier in the week. ... The
Islanders have won eight of 11. They lost at home to Carolina last
weekend. ... Carolina is 0-for-30 with the man advantage since Sean
Hill scored against Pittsburgh on March 19. ... Islanders forward
Mark Parrish, who missed 23 games earlier this season with an ankle
sprain, had his four-game goal streak snapped. He has scored in seven
of New York's last nine games.