PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes should spot
their opponents a couple goals at the start of every game.
It's worked very well so far this season.
For the fourth game in a row, the Hurricanes came back from a
two-goal deficit and they won their fifth in a row by topping the
Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Saturday night.
"There seems to be more confidence when we are down a couple
goals," said Ray Whitney, who scored the latest winner. "It seems
when we play with no inhibitions, we play much better."
Trailing 3-1 with less than eight minutes to play, Rod
Brind'Amour, Glen Wesley and Whitney scored within a 4½-minute span
of the third period. Justin Williams added an empty-netter in the
final minute to close out the scoring.
"It is not something you want to do because it's obviously
unheard of in the NHL to do this," Brind'Amour said of the
rallies. "We need to get a better all-around game so we don't have
to rely on coming back."
The Hurricanes, who got four assists from NHL scoring leader
Eric Staal on his 21st birthday, have earned at least one standings
point in eight consecutive games.
Brind'Amour's goal, his seventh, came on the power play on
assists from Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen with 7:34 to play.
"We knew if we could score one," Peter Laviolette said, "that
there was a chance we could pick up a little bit of momentum."
Just 90 seconds later, Glen Wesley notched his 200th career
point with the Hurricanes when his shot from the point made it
through traffic. The goal was originally credited to Staal.
"We're feeling confident in our ability to stay in games,"
Staal said. "We know if we work hard, we are never out of it.
We've got the players to be able to get back in games."
Whitney gave Carolina a 4-3 lead with 3:14 remaining while
Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby was serving an interference penalty.
"I think we gave them clear-cut opportunities," Crosby said,
whose Penguins have only one victory this season. "It's tough to
lose games like these. We have to battle back individually and
battle back as a team."
Cory Stillman had given Carolina a 1-0 lead while the Hurricanes
had a 5-on-3 advantage. Stillman, who finished with a goal and two
assists, knocked in a pass from across the crease from Whitney at
3:19 of the first period.
The Penguins tied it at 1 when John LeClair slammed home
Konstantin Koltsov's rebound with just under six minutes to play in
the period. The goal was LeClair's fourth and gave him at least one
point in four consecutive games.
Sergei Gonchar gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead when he scored a
disputed goal on a two-man advantage at 2:06 of the second period.
Gonchar's shot on a feed from Mark Recchi was caught by Carolina
goalie Martin Gerber. The Penguins successfully lobbied officials
Dave Jackson and Chris Rooney to review the play. Although there is
no overhead camera at Mellon Arena, replay officials awarded
Pittsburgh the goal.
The Penguins took a 3-1 lead when Ziggy Palffy was credited with
a goal that went through Gerber's legs eight minutes into the
second period. Palffy was streaking down the right wing and
attempted a centering pass to Ryan Malone. The puck deflected off a
Hurricanes player's stick and went into the net.
But Pittsburgh, which won its first game Thursday night to move
out of last place in the Eastern Conference, couldn't score during
the final 31 minutes.
"We need to be able to be more consistent and finish teams
off," coach Eddie Olczyk said. "This is a tough loss."
The Hurricanes scored five third-period goals Friday night in an
8-6 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and came back from down two
goals in wins over Boston on Wednesday and Ottawa last Monday.
"(Friday night) was pretty emotional," Laviolette said. "We
knew this game was going to be tough, being the fourth game in six
nights. To come back in the third period on the road, it shows how
these guys are willing to go out and work for each other."
Crosby was held scoreless for only the second time in 11
games. ... Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux played his 900th
NHL game. ... Staal, who led the NHL in scoring coming into the
game, extended his points streak to six games. Cullen has a
five-game streak. Frantisek Kaberle assisted on Williams' goal to
extend his point streak to six. ... The Penguins embark on their
longest trip of the season -- five games -- starting Tuesday in New