Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Carolina leads 2-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 22nd
Hurricanes1Final
OT
Penguins1
Game 2: Saturday, November 29th
Penguins3Final
Hurricanes4
Game 3: Thursday, December 18th
Penguins1Final
OT
Hurricanes2
Game 4: Friday, March 19th
Hurricanes3Final
OT
Penguins4

Penguins 1

(8-16-3, 23 pts)

Hurricanes 2

(9-12-2, 28 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2003

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 OT T
PIT 1 0 0 01
CAR 0 0 1 12

J. O'Neill (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Caron (Penguins - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .944

R. Brind'Amour (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Pittsburgh (8-16-4-2) at Carolina (8-12-8-2) 7:00 pm EST

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Peter Laviolette makes his debut as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Laviolette is team's second coach since they relocated from Hartford following the 1996-97 season season. He is replacing Paul Maurice, who was fired Monday.

Maurice was in his ninth season with the team and the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. But with a team that is less than two seasons removed from an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals and is in last place, management elected to make the change.

The Hurricanes finished with a league-low 61 points last season. This season also has been a struggle as the Hurricanes are 8-12-8-2 and in fourth place in the Southeast Division with 26 points.

"I don't think it boiled down to one thing necessarily," Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said. "It's more of a fact that we had an off year last year, and we can spin it whatever way we want and give the different reasons with the injuries and a lot of young players in the second half of last season. But, to have eight wins in our first 30 games now, coming off that year, I felt a change needed to be made."

The end for Maurice came after the Hurricanes completed a 1-2-0-1 road trip with a 2-1 overtime loss to Vancouver on Sunday night.

Regarded as one of the bright young coaches, the 38-year-old Laviolette led the New York Islanders to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Laviolette posted a 77-68-19 record with the Islanders, but was surprisingly fired last June.

Laviolette inherits a team that has the fewest goals in the NHL with 56 and has scored two goals or fewer in 14 of the last 17 games.

Pittsburgh has won two in a row for the second time this season after Sebastien Caron made 21 saves and Konstantin Koltsov snapped a tie with 14:06 remaining in Tuesday's 2-1 home victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The Penguins have not won three straight since January 13-17 and are 0-5-0-2 in their last seven road games since November 14.

Carolina is 1-0-1 against the Penguins this season. After the teams skated to a 1-1 tie in Pittsburgh on October 22, Radim Vrbata notched his second career hat trick to lead Carolina to a 4-3 home victory on November 29.

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