And Friday night at a very timely point in the game, he did just that and sent the crowd home happy.
"Jeff made a nice play there, and I decided to shoot," Pitkanen said. "I guess the other D man [Derek Joslin] screened a little bit and the goalie didn't see it. We need those points."
Erik Cole set up the extra period for the Hurricanes with a tying goal at 15:23 of the third.
Skinner's 25th goal and the winning assist gave him an NHL rookie-leading 52 points.
The win ended a two-game home losing streak for the Hurricanes and put them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points. Eighth-place Buffalo also has 76 points and two games in hand.
"As a team, it's really important that you can find a way to get to that desperation level," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Then we found it, were able to change gears and good things started happening."
Islanders goalie Al Montoya had 32 saves.
"Obviously Montoya gave us a chance to win," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He made a couple of big saves. I thought Cam Ward was excellent tonight. He was the first star of the game."
Carolina goalie Cam Ward stopped 34 shots.
"We've had a lot of good looks and played against some tough goaltenders who have played really well," Ward said. "You have to have the confidence that you're going to snap it in, and I think Joni had some confidence on that shot."
Carolina scored first at even strength at 16:33 of the first, as Skinner received Jussi Jokinen's passfrom the right circle and tipped it into the open left side of the net.
The celebration was short-lived, as Nielsen followed Grabner's shot and slid the puck behind Ward from the left doorstep at 17:52.
The Islanders made it 2-1 at 3:10 of the second, as Grabner collected the rebound of a Travis Hamonicshot and flipped the puck backhand past Ward glove side. Cole got the equalizer, popping the puck over Montoya's left shoulder for his 20th goal with Cory Stillmanon the assist.
"We've been getting a number of chances collectively the last couple of games, and we just haven't been able to find a way to get one in," Cole said. "It ends up being a shot you probably wouldn't have expected to go in that ends up going in."
|Joni Pitkanen (left) celebrates his winner with Derek Joslin and Jeff Skinner (53), who earlier nets his 25th goal. (Getty Images)|
|NY Islanders (27-33-12)||1||1||0||0||2|
|Carolina (33-29-10) «||1||0||1||1||3|
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|16:33||- Jeff Skinner (25), Tip-In. Assist: Jokinen, Ruutu|
|17:52||- Frans Nielsen (10), Backhand Shot. Assist: Grabner, Martinek|
|03:10||- Michael Grabner (29), Backhand Shot. Assist: Hamonic, Nielsen|
|15:23||- Erik Cole (20), Snap Shot. Assist: Stillman|
|03:58||- Joni Pitkanen (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Skinner, Staal|
|04:26||Haley, 2 min, Interference|
|06:58||Harrison, 2 min, Hooking|
|16:43||Gleason, 2 min, Cross-Checking|
|01:00||Gleason, 2 min, Roughing|
|08:41||LaRose, 2 min, Hooking|
|12:17||Tavares, 2 min, Interference|
|Shots On Goal|
|Attendance - 17686|
|Referees - Ian Walsh, Brad Watson|
|Linesmen - Derek Amell, Steve Miller|