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Hurricanes muscle past Isles 4-1

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The home wins keep piling up for the
Carolina Hurricanes.

Cory Stillman scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period
to lead the Hurricanes past the New York Islanders 4-1 on Friday
night, giving Carolina its eighth victory at home in nine games.

Kevyn Adams, Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams also scored for
the Hurricanes, who improved to an NHL-best 17-4-1 at home.
Carolina is ahead of Tampa Bay by 11 points in the Southeast
Division, the league's largest margin for any leader.

"We've got the confidence in here," Williams said. "Going
into the third period, we have the tools and the guys (to win), and
we believe in each other that we're going to win. We come into
every game with that attitude."

The formula is working well as the Hurricanes hit the midpoint
of the season. They've surpassed their home win totals for each of
the past three seasons -- 15 in their Stanley Cup run of 2001-02, 12
in 2002-03 and 13 in 2003-04 -- and are on pace to break the
franchise record of 26 set in 1986-87.

The Hurricanes will complete a home-and-home series with the
Islanders in New York on Saturday, and return home next week to
face Detroit and Nashville, the top two teams in the Western
Conference's Central Division.

"We've been wrapped up in a couple of big homestands and we've
taken advantage of it," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We
do have a comfort level here in front of our fans. It's fun to play
here."

Stillman extended his point streak to 10 games with his 13th
goal. With Carolina on its third 5-on-3 power play, Stillman tried
to send a pass to Williams on the left side but the puck appeared
to ricochet off goalie Wade Dubielewicz's stick and into the air.

Williams gloved the puck behind the net and sent it back to
Stillman, who squeezed it inside the near post for a 2-1 lead at
19:36.

Brind'Amour then gave the Hurricanes some extra cushion with a
power-play goal just more than a minute into the third. After
Frantisek Kaberle's shot didn't get through a crowd, Ray Whitney
corralled the loose puck and got it to Brind'Amour, who flipped it
past Dubielewicz to make it 3-1. Williams added an empty-net goal
in the final minute.

Eric Godard scored for the Islanders, but probably gained more
attention for a first-period hit on Williams that raised the ire of
the Hurricanes and their fans.

After Williams hit Godard in front of the penalty box and was
whistled for interference, Godard got up and skated across the ice
to retaliate -- hitting Williams from behind near the benches.
Williams laid on the ice for several moments while fans chanted for
Godard to be thrown out of the game.

Godard was called for roughing and charging, negating an
Islanders' power play on the Williams penalty. Once Williams got
up, he glared toward Godard in the box before exchanging words with
him through the glass.

Adams scored right after the power play ended, redirecting a
shot from Oleg Tverdovsky at 13:58 of the first for his seventh
goal. His first six this season came on a pair of hat tricks.

But the Hurricanes hadn't forgotten Godard's hit. Mike Commodore
was called for slashing when he hit Godard during the second
period, and Aaron Ward took a boarding penalty for leveling Godard
from behind a few minutes later.

Godard said afterward that he "got the wires crossed" and
initially thought Williams hit him with a stick and elbow to the
face. He later provided the Islanders with their only goal, scoring
off a rebound at 5:37 of the second period.

"I told him the penalty was dumb," Islanders coach Steve
Stirling said. "That said, I told him I wanted him to go out and
play. To draw penalties, not take them, and he took me to heart and
went out and played hard. He was our best player tonight."

Game notes
Stillman has six goals and 12 assists during his point
streak. ... The Islanders were without forward Jason Blake, the
team's leader with 17 goals. He bruised ribs in Wednesday's
overtime win against Florida and is likely to miss Saturday's
rematch. ... Dubielewicz made 31 saves in his first NHL start this
season and his fourth career game. He replaced backup Garth Snow,
who injured both knees in the final seconds of regulation against
Florida. Snow was filling in for regular starter Rick DiPietro, who
is day-to-day with a knee injury.