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Hurricanes sweep away Islanders 9-0

THE Carolina Hurricanes, playing like a "well-oiled machine", routed the New York Islanders 9-0 on Tuesday to win their ninth consecutive game.

Eric Staal scored a hat-trick while Erik Cole and Anton Babchuk each had four assists as the Hurricanes (45-28-7) won a team-record 12th successive game at home.

"We are playing like a well-oiled machine," Staal said after his fourth hat-trick of the season. He now has 39 goals and 35 assists this season.

"When you're confident and doing the right things you are going to get good results and nights like tonight."

The victory boosted fifth-placed Carolina to 13-1-2 in their last 16 games and helped them keep pace with No. 4 Philadelphia (43-25-11) in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams have 97 points.

Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot with a 2-1 home win over the Florida Panthers.

Carolina has already secured a post-season berth for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward earned his sixth shutout and 39th win of the season by stopping 12 shots while the Islanders suffered their worst loss.

Carolina peppered Islanders' goaltenders Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald with a whopping 57 shots.

Danis lasted only a period, giving up three goals on 10 shots, while MacDonald had 41 saves but gave up six goals. "I don't ever remember playing in a game like that," said the Hurricanes' Tuomo Ruutu, who scored two of Carolina's three power-play goals in the third period.

The Islanders were charged with eight penalties in the final period, including a 10-minute misconduct penalty against Joel Rechlicz, who was also drew a five-minute major for fighting and two minutes for being an instigator in a fight with Carolina's Tim Conboy. Conboy also was penalized five minutes for fighting.

"I put our better players on the ice on most power plays in the third period because I didn't like the penalties they were taking," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said.

"Had they just been hooking or interference I wouldn't have run it up. But as coaches we've got to have some recourse to handle a game like that."

Dennis Seidenberg delivered the opener 2:54 into the game and Staal and Scott Walker made it 3-0 before the end of the period.

Canes captain Rod Brind'Amour has his 16th goal of the season sandwiched between Staal's second-period goals as the hosts took a 6-0 lead.

Frank Kaberle added to Ruutu's goals in the third period.

"No matter who we play against we've got to get ready for the playoff," the Hurricanes' Babchuk said, "and we need the points for home ice advantage."


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