Erik Cole and Eric Staal snapped long scoring droughts with power-play goals and Ryan Bayda added his first goal for the depleted Hurricanes, who started without three key defensemen and then lost captain and leading scorer Rod Brind'Amour in the game's opening moments with an injury to his left knee.
Whitney, who entered with no goals in his previous 10 games, broke a 2-all tie with 16:15 left when he took a feed from Staal while slipping into the slot and beat Dany Sabourin with a low wrist shot to his glove side.
Cam Ward stopped 20 shots for Carolina, which held an overwhelming 46-22 shots advantage and won its second straight to move back into the division lead ahead of idle Atlanta and Washington.
Evgeni Malkin scored for the fifth straight game, defenseman Brooks Orpik added his first goal of the season and Sabourin made 42 saves for Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh, which dropped its second in a row and fell to 6-4-2 in their 12 games since star center Sidney Crosby sprained his ankle.
Malkin continued his torrid play in Crosby's absence -- he has 10 goals and 13 assists since replacing Crosby on Pittsburgh's No. 1 line. His unassisted power-play goal in the second -- which clipped off the stick of Carolina's Frantisek Kaberle -- put the Penguins up 2-1 and moved him into second in the league with 75 points.
ISLANDERS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 4
In Toronto, Ruslan Fedotenko scored two of the Islanders' four power-play goals and New York beat Toronto for its second straight victory.
Mike Comrie and Bryan Berard also had power-play goals while Freddy Meyer added an empty-netter for the Islanders, who moved within four points of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Alex Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker scored for the Leafs, who dropped to 29th overall in the 30-team NHL after Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia on Thursday night.
LIGHTNING 5, FLYERS 3
In Philadelphia, Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists to lead Tampa Bay over Philadelphia. It was the Flyers' fifth consecutive loss.
BLACKHAWKS 6, PREDATORS 1
In Nashville, Tenn., Jonathan Toews scored a pair of goals and assisted on another and Chicago beat Nashville Predators.
RANGERS: Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers agreed Thursday on a six-year, $41.25 million contract extension that will keep the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist in the fold through the 2013-14 season.
The 25-year-old Swede is 24-21-5 this season with a 2.37 goals-against average in 50 games.