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Luongo has 33 saves for Florida

10/14/2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Jeff O'Neill's second-period outburst after
another failed power play told the story for the frustrated
Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

O'Neill slammed his stick against the glass, threw it into the
tunnel, broke three more and repeatedly kicked the boards on the
bench as Carolina outplayed another opponent only to net a 2-2 tie
with the Florida Panthers.

"That was my little conniption for the week," said the
scoreless O'Neill, one of 12 NHL players to have 30 or more goals
each of the last three seasons. "I think the fans were quite
amused by it.

"I don't lose it like that very often but I wanted to break
every stick in that rack, including ones that I didn't own."

Roberto Luongo stopped 33 shots to keep Carolina winless and
O'Neill frustrated.

"There is pressure on him to score, there is pressure on him to
produce," coach Paul Maurice said of O'Neill. "He understands
that. I don't mind seeing that burst of emotion as long as it's not
all emotion on the bench and nothing on the ice.

"At least he's banging, he's hitting. He needs to play with
that fire. I would much rather have that than him moping on the
bench."

The Hurricanes scored one goal in each of their first two losses
and did one better than that against the Panthers, but Luongo was
as tough to beat as four days ago when the Panthers defeated
Carolina 3-1.

Luongo saved his best stop for overtime when he stoned a wide
open Sean Hill from 20 feet with a beautiful glove save.

"I just came out to challenge on that shot and had to react to
make the save," said Luongo, who has stopped 96 of 100 shots this
season.

Luongo said the game was extra physical since the Hurricanes are
in an early-season scoring drought.

"They were crashing the net," he said. "When you want to get
some offense you've got to crash the net, hope for rebounds, stuff
like that."

Carolina had an opportunity to put the game away late in
regulation when Matt Cullen took a tripping penalty with 4:23 left,
but Luongo came up big with several key saves. The Hurricanes are
0-2-1 -- their worst start since 1997-98.

"He was spectacular," Florida coach Mike Keenan said of his
goalie. "We'll have to send that into the National Hockey League
for the highlight reel -- especially that glove save."

Carolina trailed 2-1 after Marcus Nilson scored Florida's second
power-play goal midway through the second period.

But Florida's defense made a mistake two minutes later as the
Hurricanes tied it at 2.

The Panthers backed off Carolina enforcer Jesse Boulerice as
Bret Hedican skated up the right wing. Hedican flipped the puck to
a wide open Boulerice, who easily beat Luongo for his first goal in
30 games.

Each team scored on two-man advantages in the first.

Carolina took its first lead of the season eight minutes in when
a shot from Glen Wesley deflected off the stick of Florida
defenseman Lyle Odelein and then off the glove of Josef Vasicek.

There were three seconds left on the two-man advantage when
Vasicek scored. Carolina was miserable on the attack before the
goal, giving the puck away three times, jumping offsides three
times and getting no shots on Luongo.

The Hurricanes looked as if they were going to kill off a
two-minute, two-man disadvantage, but Florida broke back up ice
after Rod Brind'Amour fell in the Panthers end and Kristian
Huselius beat Kevin Weekes between the legs with 16 seconds left on
the power play.

Florida managed just two shots in the opening 17 minutes before
its power-play goal.

Game notes
The Southeast Division rivals won't meet again until Feb.
16. ... Huselius also scored against Carolina in Thursday's season
opener. ... Carolina rookie Eric Staal, the second overall pick in
this year's draft, had seven goals in the preseason but none so far
in three regular-season games. ... Danny Markov had his first point
in a Carolina uniform when he assisted on Boulerice's goal.