RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA (TICKER) -- Facing a four-goal deficit in the second period, the Carolina Hurricanes rallied for a 4-4 tie against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and their biggest comeback in 20 years.
Jeff O'Neill scored twice for the Hurricanes, who overcame a four-goal deficit for the first time since a 5-5 tie with the Montreal Canadiens on March 18, 1980, when they were the Hartford Whalers.
"When you're down 4-0, you know it's gonna be tough to come back," O'Neill said. "Paul Coffey, between the second and third periods, got us motivated pretty good and gave us great leadership in here. It was like Ben Crenshaw before the last day of the Ryder Cup. We were ready to just go out and give it our best."
Andrei Kovalenko and Glen Wesley each had a goal and an assist for Carolina, which outshot Anaheim 18-4 in the third period and overtime.
"I'm beyond anger," Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg said. "It's ridiculous what happened. The guys stopped working. Some of them didn't, but several of the guys that we count on heavily to play a lot of minutes for us just shut it down and Carolina took the game over. It's a sad deal. If you can't work in this league you don't belong in this league, I don't care how skilled you are."
Anaheim had managed just nine goals in its previous six games.
"You should talk to some of those guys," Hartsburg said to the media about his team. "They have all the answers. Ten minutes after the game they've got the answers. Every night after the game they've got the answers. They have the answers before the game, but during the game they don't have the answers.
"So I'm going to have to call you guys down to the bench in the middle of the second period and you can talk to them because I do not have the answers that they're giving everybody halfway through the game."
Wesley tied the game with his fourth goal at 12:23 of the third period. He took a pass from Kovalenko and fired a slap shot from just inside the zone that deflected off a defenseman before hitting goaltender Dominic Roussel and bouncing into the net.
"Ninety percent of those go into the stands or the corner," Roussel said. "But it kept moving pretty good. It hit my mask and my neck at about the same time and went in."
Matt Cullen and Oleg Tverdovsky each had two assists for the Mighty Ducks, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Anaheim took a 3-0 lead when Jim McKenzie lifted a rebound of Jeff Nielsen's shot over goaltender Arturs Irbe's left shoulder from the slot at 5:46 of the second period.
Eric Fichaud replaced Irbe after McKenzie's goal and stopped eight of nine shots. Fichaud allowed only Jeff Nielsen's power-play tally at 8:37 of the second period. Tverdovsky took a slap shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off Nielsen's skate and inside the right post for his seventh goal.
Kovalenko's seventh goal began Carolina's comeback. He got a rebound of Sami Kapanen's shot at the top right crease, skated to the slot and put a wrist shot behind Roussel.
"It was a big boost for us going into the third period," said Wesley. "We just let it all hang out, forechecking and throwing the puck at the net."
O'Neill's 13th goal cut the deficit to 4-2 just 36 seconds into the period and drew the Hurricanes within one at 9:18. He gathered a rebound after Roussel made a stick save on Steve Halko's shot and put a wrist shot into a wide-open right side of the net.
Temmu Selanne staked Anaheim to a 1-0 lead with his 16th goal at 16:11 of the opening period. Selanne put a one-timer by Irbe's stick side from the bottom of the left circle.
Carolina had a power play when Marty McInnis beat Irbe to the stick side for his seventh goal and a 2-0 lead at 2:10 of the second.
CAROLINA HEAD COACH PAUL MAURICE:
On the game:
“Well it was a great comeback for us. I didn’t think we came out of the gates real slow tonight. I think they came out real hard. We got ourselves into a pretty good hole. I think that shows a pretty good indication of character in that room. Ronnie Francis and Gary Roberts and Jeff O’Neill – they were just awesome. They got together. They just picked it up all together. They just go, go go. 42 shots I think is the final. I mean we had a goal after two and 40 shots at the end of regulation. Early in the game we didn’t generate a whole lot but there were a lot of pucks that we kinda left laying around in front of the net that the goalie was missing.
On the comeback:
“That’s a great sign for our hockey club.It’s great to not sit there panicking, pouting when things didn’t go our way. I thought it was great.”
On O’Neill’s line:
“Jeff O’Neill is playing center because we need him to. We talked about the fact that he’s probably a more natural winger. I really felt that Ron Francis, Gary Roberts, Jeff O’Neill and I would have to include Andrei Kovalenko even though he didn’t take much of a line change – especially those four guys I thought were driving tonight. I didn’t necessarily get the sense of desperation from the rest of the hockey club. I think when those three guys were playing together the rest of the guys on the bench saw what they were doing, saw their fire and just fed off it. It’s difficult when you get those three guys together to play real hard, for anyone else to come off the bench and not play that hard.
“This hockey team, they’re a good bunch of men. They’re working real hard together. There’s no one in that locker room stealing a paycheck.”
MIGHTY DUCKS COACH CRAIG HARTSBURG:
On the game:
“It’s ridiculous of what happened. We stopped working. Some guys didn’t. Some guys stayed with it and tried to play a good team game and other guys just took the rest of the night off when we were up 4-0. Guys that we count on heavily to play a lot of minutes for us just shut her down. Carolina just took the game over.”
“If you can’t work in this league, you don’t belong in this league, I don’t care how skilled you are.”
“You should talk to some of those guys, they all have the ******* answers after the game. When it’s after the game they all have the answers. They got the answers every night after the game. 10 minutes after the game they have the answers. They have the answers before the game. But during the game they don’t have the answers. So I’m going to have to call you guys down to the bench in the middle of the second period and you can talk to them because I don’t have the answers that they’re giving everybody halfway through the game.”
“This is going to be a good hockey team if we get some guys to give us some character and work hard every night. If they don’t, it’s going to be a struggle.”
-------------------------------Anaheim 1 3 0 0--4Carolina 0 1 3 0--4-------------------------------FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Anaheim, Selanne 16 (P Kariya), 16:11.Penalties: Olausson, Ana (Obstr hooking), 1:28; Leclerc, Ana (fightingmajor), 4:11; Pratt, Car (fighting major), 4:11; Salei, Ana (Obstrhooking), 4:41; J Daniels, Car (Obstr hooking), 8:32.SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 2, Anaheim, Mcinnis 7 (shorthanded) (Cullen,Tverdovsky), 2:10. 3, Anaheim, Mckenzie 3 (J Nielsen, Cullen), 5:46. 4,Anaheim, J Nielsen 7 (power play) (Tverdovsky, Kohn), 8:37. 5, Carolina,Kovalenko 7 (Kapanen, Wesley), 17:34. Penalties: Haller, Ana(interference), 0:33; Oneill, Car (high sticking), 6:52; Grimson, Ana(roughing), 11:39.THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 6, Carolina, Oneill 13 (Coffey, Roberts), 0:36.7, Carolina, Oneill 14 (Halko, Francis), 9:18. 8, Carolina, Wesley 4(Kovalenko, Coffey), 12:33. Penalties: Salei, Ana (holding), 10:32.OVERTIME -- Scoring: None.Shots on goal:------------------------------------Anaheim 14 8 4 0--26Carolina 11 14 15 3--43------------------------------------