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Workhorse goalie back from injury, minors

2/26/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Carolina's first victory in six games against
Washington this season shouldn't have been so close.

The Hurricanes got goals from Jeff O'Neill and Erik Cole in a
2-1 win Wednesday night. They had 33 shots to the Capitals' 19 and
dominated the action. The win gave Carolina points in five straight
games.

"It's about time we showed up and played a good, hard,
aggressive game. They had some flurries, but we had a pretty strong
performance from the drop of the puck," said O'Neill.

O'Neill had the Hurricanes' second goal, which came with
Carolina holding a two-man advantage midway through the second period.
Cole tipped a shot past Washington goalie Sebastien Charpentier
late in the first period to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.

Washington had just five shots on goal in the first 38 minutes
of the game -- after having only two in the third period of Monday's loss
to Tampa Bay.

"That's not right," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "Seven
shots in 60 minutes. That's not what we're trying to establish."

Washington's only goal came on Robert Lang's 29th goal with 37
seconds to play in the second period. Lang has a point in his last
13 games.

The Capitals' Jeff Halpern said of the team's lack of offense: "This was embarrassing. It's not acceptable. We're a little limited in some areas. We have a tough time generating a lot of shots."

Lang nearly tied the score on a breakaway in the third period,
but Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe thwarted Lang's drive. About 40
seconds later, Lang tried again, but his shot was wide. Irbe
snagged another shot by Lang on a power play with just under six
minutes to play.

"You don't want to overcommit because you tend to think he
cannot get the good shot off. Knowing his skill, he can free up
anytime -- and he did," Irbe said. "I got to move over and get the
glove on it."

Irbe was making his first appearance of the year after being
recalled from Johnstown of the Eastern League on Feb. 17. Irbe, the
franchise leader in games played in goal with 300, spent more than
two months on the injured list with a wrist injury.

"It's been over a year for me, personally. It's good to get one
back from these guys who have been waiting so long," Irbe said.

Game notes
Washington's Rick Berry was suspended for the game because of a spearing penalty in the Capitals' previous game. ... Charpentier started for Washington instead of Olaf Kolzig, whose wife gave birth to a boy Tuesday. It was Charpentier's third appearance of the season -- the first since Oct. 23. ... O'Neill's goal was the 196th of his career, tying him with Geoff Sanderson for fourth on the team's all-time list. ... Capitals center Michael Nylander, who hasn't played this season because of a broken right leg, is expected to play this weekend.