Staff photo by Chris Seward
RALEIGH — Just when all seemed lost for the Carolina Hurricanes, they found a way to win.
Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose each scored a pair of goals for the Canes, who summoned up enough late energy to rally past the New York Islanders 5-4 Friday night at the RBC Center.
The Islanders, trailing 2-0 after the first period, surged ahead 4-3 after the second. But Cullen's second goal, on a power play with 6:38 left in the game, tied the score 4-4 and LaRose made it 5-4 with 4:21 left.
The Canes, with a seventh straight home victory, passed Montreal and the New York Rangers to move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina, which has nine games left to play, faces the Washington Capitals Saturday at the RBC Center.
Goals by the Isles' Frans Nielsen and Richard Park early in the second period tied the score 2-2, and the Isles took their first lead when defenseman Bruno Gervais scored on a 2-on-1 pass from Andy Hilbert.
Mark Streit made it 4-2 with 1:08 left in the second on a power-play goal after the first penalty of the game — a delay-of-game against Canes defenseman Joni Pitkanen.
The Canes' Tuomo Ruutu scored with 53.6 seconds left in the period after Erik Cole drove the net and was knocked into rookie goaltender Peter Mannino.
Cullen scored 44 seconds into the game and LaRose scored with 1:08 left in the first period for a 2-0 Canes lead.
The Canes' Eric Staal was injured with 18:24 left in the second and taken to the locker room. Staal was driving the net when he collided with defenseman Bruno Gervais, fell over Mannino and hit his helmet on the left post.
Staal was on the ice for a few minutes before skating off on his own power. Jussi Jokinen moved up to center the line, but Staal soon returned to the game.
The Isles made it a 2-1 game on Nielsen's goal at 2:30 of the second. Park then scored at 5:54 for the 2-2 tie, skating in and beating Cam Ward with a high backhander.
A puck-handling gaffe by Mannino led the Cullen goal. Mannino, making his second NHL start, tried to play the puck behind the net but had it go back through his skates past the goal line. Cullen, skating in, had an open net and picked up his 21st goal.
Cullen also assisted on the goal by LaRose, his 15th of the season and first in eight games. Cullen and Ray Whitney, who earned his second assist, both handled the puck in the Isles zone before Cullen found LaRose moving left to right in front of the goal.