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HURRICANES vs. FLORIDA FIVE GAME BOUT ENDS IN DRAW

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers settled the fifth and final game of their season series tonight with a 2-2 tie at National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Florida. Hurricane forward Jeff O'Neill extended his points streak to six games as he scored both Carolina goals.

O'Neill first found the net in the second period when Hurricanes defenseman David Tanabe rifled a slapshot from the blue line at Florida goaltender Trevor Kidd. The shot was deflected en route to Kidd and O'Neill lifted the puck over Kidd's right shoulder to tie the contest 1-1.

Hurricanes Captain Ron Francis was originally credited with an assist on O'Neill's second period goal but review of the play awarded the assist to Francis' linemate Sami Kapanen. The assist would have tied Francis with the legendary Phil Esposito for fifth place on the NHL's all-time points scoring list.

In the third period O'Neill scored the go-ahead goal when he beat Kidd with a slapshot from the right faceoff circle. Francis set-up the play with some gritty boards work behind the Florida goal that got the puck to Kapanen. Kapanen made a quick drop pass to O'Neill who fired the puck past Kidd's right shoulder giving Francis his 1,590th career NHL point.

"Everything that happened tonight was just a backseat to what Ron Francis did," said Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. "He's a real professional and probably doesn't get the credit he deserves."

Despite Franics, O'Neill and Kapanen's efforts, Florida forward Pavel Bure, last season's top goal scorer league-wide, tied the game 2-2 with 22 seconds left in regulation time. Bure finished this season's series against Carolina with four points (3g, 1a), one more than he scored in last season's five-game set when he registered one goal and two assists against the Hurricanes.

Maurice was proud of his team following the game despite the late game-tying goal by Bure.

"We probably deserved to get the two points tonight," said Maurice. "We played a better game tonight than we played the other night against them. But the most important thing is that our play continues to improve."

The Hurricanes took the season series against Florida, 2-1-2, and improved their record to 17-16-6-2 (42 pts.) with tonight's tie. The Panthers broke the 30 point barrier with the tie as their record went to 8-21-8-6 (30 pts.).

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
Carolina01102
Florida10102

First Period: Scoring: 1, Florida, Adams 5 (Mellanby, Jokinen), 1:53.Penalties: Tanabe, Car (holding), 6:38; Sillinger, Fla (interference),10:36; Ward, Fla (hooking), 18:06.

Second Period: Scoring: 2, Carolina, Oneill 16 (power play) (Tanabe,Kapanen), 9:07. Penalties: Karpa, Car (roughing), 7:27; Ward, Fla(roughing), 7:27; Eriksson, Fla (slashing), 8:37; Battaglia, Car (Obstrhooking), 19:01.

Third Period: Scoring: 3, Carolina, Oneill 17 (Kapanen, Francis),7:25. 4, Florida, P Bure 23 (Eriksson, Jokinen), 19:37.

Overtime: Scoring: None.

SHOTS ON GOAL
Carolina91673--35
Florida

8
6
10
1
--25

Power-play Conversions: Car - 1 of 3, Fla - 0 of 2. Goalies: Carolina,Irbe (25 shots, 23 saves; record: 16-14-6). Florida, Kidd (35, 33; record:6-14-6). A:12,727. Referees: Fraser, Kowal. Linesmen: G Devorski,Scapinello.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYER STATISTICS
Carolina    Florida    
GA+/-ShotsGA+/-Shots
Battaglia
Brindamour
Dimaio
Francis
G Wesley
Gelinas
Halko
J Daniels
Kapanen
Karpa
Langdon
Malik
Oneill
T Westlund
Tanabe
Vasicek
Wallin
Willis
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
-1
even
-1
even
+1
even
-1
even
even
-1
even
-1
even
even
+1
-1
-1
even
2
2
2
1
0
2
0
2
4
3
0
2
5
2
2
1
1
4
Adams
Boyle
Eriksson
Golubovsky
Jokinen
Kozlov
Mellanby
Niedermayer
Nilson
Novoseltsev
P Bure
Payer
Pitlick
R Svehla
Sillinger
Ward
Whitney
Worrell
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
+1
+1
+1
+1
+2
even
+2
-1
+1
even
even
even
+1
-1
-1
-1
even
even
3
0
1
0
3
2
1
2
2
0
4
0
1
0
4
1
1
0
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