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

Brind'Amour, O'Neill score for Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Peter Laviolette had to sweat a bit to get a victory in his Carolina coaching debut Thursday night.

Rod Brind'Amour and Jeff O'Neill broke long scoring droughts when the slumping Hurricanes scored two late goals to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime.

"We're in a position right now where we can't afford to let any slip away," Laviolette said of a team that came into the game 13th overall in the Eastern Conference.

"It's going to be a long battle and we need to just collect points. It doesn't matter if it happens early in the game, late in the game or in overtime."

Laviolette, who replaced Paul Maurice on Monday, promised an up-tempo system that would produce more scoring and exciting action.

But the lowest scoring team in the NHL couldn't muster a goal against the worst defensive team in the league until Brind'Amour broke his 14-game scoring slump 15 seconds after Kevin Weekes left the Carolina net for an extra attacker with 1:10 left.

Brind'Amour banked in a shot from the side of the net after taking a pass from Josef Vasicek as Carolina outshot Pittsburgh 34-11 in regulation.

"Sometimes when those games happen you get this eerie feeling inside that maybe things just aren't going to bounce your way," Laviolette said of Carolina's lopsided shot total.

O'Neill then scored halfway through the five-minute, sudden-death overtime, taking a pass from Ron Francis on a two-on-one to score his first goal in 13 games and first game-winner of the season.

"I felt like David Duval and I said, `Just put it in the fairway," O'Neill said of the wide open net he faced. "It was a great play by Ronnie. It felt like the old days.

"Still, we can't climb up to the top of our vision in 3{ hours," O'Neill said when asked about the importance of the victory.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh left town bitter after blowing a late lead.

"This is a tough thing to swallow," said defenseman Drake Berehowsky, who was on the ice for both Carolina goals. "We realized we let one slip out of our hands."

As usual, Carolina had numerous chances, especially early in the third when Pittsburgh's Aleksey Morozov took a four-minute, high-sticking penalty 25 seconds in.

But the Hurricanes managed just three shots, and a minute later Eric Staal hit the crossbar.

Sebastien Caron then robbed the Carolina rookie with a great glove save with 4:16 left as he broke through two Pittsburgh defensemen.

Konstantin Koltsov scored in consecutive games for the first time this season when he turned a Carolina turnover into an easy goal with 5:19 left in the first.

Carolina defensemen Sean Hill and Glen Wesley mishandled the puck and it popped out in front of the net to Koltsov, who beat a surprised Weekes.

Koltsov had the game-winner for Pittsburgh two days ago against Buffalo.

Game notes


Carolina has just 16 goals in the first period. ... The slumping Jeff O'Neill saw his first action on the point of Carolina's power play. ... Cole has gone 15 games without a goal. ... Mario Lemieux missed his 21st straight game with a hip injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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