After narrowly defeating the Florida Panthers on Tuesday evening the Phoenix Coyotes continued their tour of the Southeast division on Wednesday night in Raleigh. Former Whaler Dave Tippett was forced to shuffle his lineup after losing Adrian Aucoin and Mike Smith to injury, giving Jason LaBarbera the start against Cam Ward and new Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller.
Much like the previous night, Phoenix opened the scoring on the power play after Jay Harrison was called for interference. Oliver Ekman-Larsson setup the goal, passing off to Ray Whitney at the top of the Carolina zone. The veteran forward lined up a scorching shot that beat Ward, who had been screened by Martin Hanzal.
Carolina had an attempt to even the game on the power play when Derek Morris was called for interference, and though the Hurricanes did not score on the man advantage, the power play setup a goal when Jussi Jokinen threw a shot into traffic in front of LaBarbera. Alexei Ponikarovsky found the loose puck and take a quick shot that rebounded off the leg of Klesla and over to Tuomo Ruutu at the top of the crease, who quickly tapped a shot home to tie the game.
That score held through the first intermission and the first quarter of the second period as the Hurricanes rode the energy of a strong crowd at the RBC Center. Hammering the Coyotes with shots early, Carolina broke the tie when Andreas Nodl caught a long rebound in the slot from a Jaroslav Spacek dump pass that caromed off the back glass. Firing a quick wrist shot before LaBarbera could adjust, it was his first goal for the Hurricanes since being acquired on waivers.
Carolina extended its lead late in the second period when Jiri Tlusty carried the puck out of the zone and on the attack. Sliding down the boards, the former Maple Leaf sent a wrist shot on net from the half wall looking to set up a rebound, but the puck slipped through LaBarbera's legs and in for a 3-1 Carolina lead.
Phoenix's Cal O'Reilly brought the Coyotes back within one after taking the rebound from a blocked David Rundblad point shot. Fighting off Jaroslav Spacek for the puck, O'Reilly tucked the shot just under the crossbar, scoring on the Coyotes' second shot of the period.
Still down a goal in the third period and being outshot 26-14 by the Hurricanes, the Coyotes came out snarling in the third period, pressing the Carolina defense. The attacks paid off on a rush when Lauri Korpikoski took the puck around the back of the Carolina net before sending a quick pass to Klesla, who had pinched into the slot from the blue line. A quick shot from the Czech defender tied the game with his first of the season, and the Hurricanes were unable to answer.
With the teams 4 on 4 after penalties to Hanzal and Jussi Jokinen, another odd man rush would pay off for Phoenix midway through the period. With a strong sense of deja vu, Korpikoski led another breakout into the Carolina zone. This time the Finnish winger sent the puck over to Derek Morris, who tried for a stuff attempt along the side of the net and was rebuffed by Ward. Collecting the puck, Morris circled the net and sent a gentle feed into the crease that Korpikoski fired into the top corner to give the Coyotes a lead.
Carolina appeared to have tied the game on a late scramble around the net with under a minute left in regulation, but extensive video review found the puck had not crossed the goal line. Deflated by the failed attempt and three unanswered Coyote goals, the Canes weren't able to muster another goal before time had slipped away.