Slavins hat trick leads the way in Hurricanes 8-4 rout over Islanders

Faulk, Skinner each score pair in Carolinas third win over New York

James Guillory—X02835
Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner and defensemen Jaccob Slavin — pictured Feb. 21 against the Pittsburgh Penguins — combined for five goals Monday

BROOKLYN — The Hurricanes might win the Stanley Cup if they could figure out how to play against everyone the way they play against the Islanders, while a handful of losses to Carolina might keep New York out of the playoffs.Carolina continued its mastery of the Islanders on Monday night, when defenseman Jaccob Slavin collected the first hat trick of his NHL career and Justin Faulk and Jeff Skinner each scored twice in a wild 8-4 win at Barclays Center.The Hurricanes entered Monday with the fourth-fewest goals in the NHL, and they have scored more than four goals just six times in 30 games since New Year’s Day. However, Carolina produced three of those efforts in three wins over the Islanders, previously beating New York 7-4 on Jan. 14 and 5-4 in overtime on Feb. 4.”I wish I knew, and I wish I could bottle that and use it,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said with a grin when asked what the secret was against the Islanders. “You’d love to be able to score more. We’ve had our challenges offensively, but for whatever reason against the Islanders, we’ve been able to score.”The good news for the Hurricanes is they don’t have to wait long to take on the Islanders again: The teams square off Tuesday night in Carolina.”We’ve got to find a way to win, so whatever it’s going to take to get a win tomorrow,” Peters said. “I don’t think there’s going to be 12 goals (Tuesday). But if there is, let’s make sure we’re on the right side of the ledger.”The inability of the Islanders (32-25-11) to end up on the right side against the Hurricanes (28-27-11) is becoming problematic. Carolina is in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and nine points out of a playoff spot.With a win Monday, New York — which was in last place in the Eastern Conference when coach Jack Capuano was fired Jan. 17 and replaced by Doug Weight — would have moved past the idle Toronto Maple Leafs into sole possession of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.Aside from the Hurricanes, New York is winless against just two other Eastern Conference foes — the Ottawa Senators (0-2-0), who are in second place in the Atlantic Division, and the Tampa Bay Lightning (0-3-0), who moved into a tie with the Islanders for ninth place in the East by beating the New York Rangers 3-2 on Monday night.”We just made tomorrow the biggest game of the year,” Weight said. “For all intents and purposes, it’s going to dictate a lot of what’s going to happen the next month. We’ve got to win.”The Islanders actually held a pair of early leads Monday. Ryan Strome scored the game’s first goal just before the midway point of the first period. Slavin and Carolina’s Joakim Nordstrom scored in a 36-second span later in the first before Stephen Gionta tied the score for New York with a goal at 17:32.Defenseman Calvin De Haan gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead by scoring 2:43 into the second. However, the Hurricanes scored four goals — two by Faulk and one each by Skinner and Slavin — in a span of just 4:54 against beleaguered New York goalies Jean-Francois Berube and Thomas Greiss.Berube, making his first start since Feb. 18, was pulled with the score 4-3 before Greiss gave up goals on the first two shots he faced. Weight said the loss was a team effort and not solely the fault of the goalies.”There’s no hiding from this one, that’s for sure,” Weight said.Islanders rookie Josh Ho-Sang scored with 6:10 left in the second to pull New York within one, but Skinner scored on a penalty shot 3:43 into the third and Slavin finished off his hat trick with 9:03 remaining.”Feels pretty good, obviously,” Slavin said. “It’s nice to score some goals. They don’t come by a lot for myself.”Slavin entered the game with just two goals this season and four in his two-year career.”Maybe mini-mites,” he said with a grin when asked when he last scored a hat trick.Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward recorded 23 saves. Berube made nine saves before Greiss allowed four goals on 20 shots.NOTES: The Hurricanes scored at least eight goals for the eighth time since the franchise moved from Hartford following the 1996-97 season. … The Islanders scratched D Johnny Boychuk (lower body), C Shane Prince (leg), C Alan Quine (upper body) and D Scott Mayfield. … The home game was the first for the Islanders in 23 days. New York went 5-3-1 on a franchise-record nine-game road trip that ended Saturday. … The Hurricanes scratched LW Phil Di Giuseppe (upper body), D Brock McGinn (upper body), LW Valentin Zykov (upper body) and D Ryan Murphy.