Nestrasil, Rask score 2 each, Hurricanes beat Islanders 6-3
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes honored their 2006 Stanley Cup championship team before the game and kept the celebration going the rest of the night.
Victor Rask scored twice to cap Carolina’s five-goal second period and the Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 6-3 on Saturday night.
Riley Nash, Noah Hanifin, Kris Versteeg, and Andrej Nestrasil also scored for Carolina, which finished with a season-high scoring total. Jordan Staal and Phillip Di Giuseppe each had two assists.
“I think tonight (the puck) went in,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “Obviously, they started going in a little bit in the second and it’s a good night.”
Nestrasil’s ninth goal of the season put the Hurricanes up 4-0 with about 9 minutes left in the second period.
John Tavares got New York on the scoreboard with his team-leading 21st goal with 6:14 left in the middle period, and Nick Leddy’s power-play score made it 4-2 a little more than 90 seconds later.
However Rask scored twice 1:21 apart late in the second to restore Carolina’s four-goal lead with 2 seconds remaining in the period.
“We talk about that, to bear down on our opportunities,” Rask said.
The Stanley Cup was in the arena for the celebration and the championship theme was something the Hurricanes embraced.
“I’m glad it’s rolling right now,” Nestrasil said. “Most of the plays we made went in.”
Matt Martin scored in the third period for the Islanders, who snapped a three-game winning streak.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano sensed trouble early, particularly with Carolina putting up 16 shots in the first period.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t start on time,” Capuano said. “You play 82 games, it’s going to happen. Let’s not kid ourselves.”
Nash broke through and got the Hurricanes on the scoreboard with about 2 1/2 minutes to go in the opening period. Hanifin, Versteeg and Nestrasil then scored in a 6:35 span of the second.
“You’ve got to find a way to finish and score big goals in big games, and these are big games right now,” Peters said.
Carolina goalie Cam Ward departed with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the second period with an apparent injury to his left leg. He gave up two goals on 16 shots, before Eddie Lack finished and stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced.
Ward and captain Eric Staal are the only current Carolina players reaming from the championship team.
“Hopefully him and Eric can enjoy some time with their former teammates tonight and we’ll see where he’s at Monday,” Peters said of the goalie’s injury.
Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak gave up all six goals on 28 shots in two periods. Thomas Greiss replaced Halak to start the third and stopped all three shots he faced in the final period.
NOTES: Islanders assistant coach and assistant general manager Doug Weight took part in the pregame on-ice ceremony honoring the 2006 Stanley Cup champions. He played as a forward on that Carolina team. ... Islanders RW Cal Clutterbuck missed the game with an illness, so RW Steve Bernier played for the first time since Dec. 21. ... Hurricanes D Justin Faulk sat out for the second game in a row after he suffered a lower-body injury during Thursday’s practice.