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REVIEW: HURRICANES 4, New Jersey Devils 3 (OT)

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA (TICKER) -- Jeff O'Neill took advantage of a rare mental lapse by the New Jersey Devils to score 16 seconds into overtime and lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 triumph over the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils lost the opening faceoff and immediately tried to move out of their defensive zone. Bobby Holik was along the left boards and tried to spring Scott Niedermayer just inside his own blue line.

But the puck hit the defenseman in the skates, O'Neill gained control and broke in alone on Chris Terreri. One deke later, O'Neill wristed the puck through Terreri's pads for the quickest overtime win in Carolina history.

"Without Ron Francis in the lineup, someone has got to step up and make some plays," O'Neill said. "It was a big win. It was good to get one. This is a time of year for us where every win is very important."

"It was a mistake, especially 4-on-4," Holik said. "There is too much room to make a mistake like that."

Petr Sykora knotted the contest with 6:08 to play in the third period for the Devils, who had their eight-game road unbeaten streak snapped (6-0-2) and lost for just the second time in 16 games overall (12-2-2).

Both losses during the stretch have come in overtime, meaning the Devils have come away with points in every game since a 4-1 loss at Toronto on December 23.

"We have been playing really well," Terreri said. "You are going to have nights like that."

"It's hard to play one period intense and win a game," Devils coach Robbie Ftorek said. "We battled back and got the point which is good and important. We would have liked to play better than that for 60 minutes but we didn't."

The Devils seized a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when Claude Lemieux spun in the crease and beat goaltender Arturs Irbe for his 17th goal. But the Hurricanes knotted the contest just 12 seconds later on Tommy Westlund's third goal of the season.

Holik's 17th goal with 99 seconds left in the opening period gave the Devils a 2-1 cushion but again Carolina answered. With Lyle Odelein in the penalty box for roughing, Sami Kapanen ripped a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle over Terreri's right pad.

Kron followed Kapanen's 19th goal with his seventh of the season. With just over 10 minutes left in the second period, Kron followed his own shot and shoveled the puck past Terreri for a 3-2 lead.

"With Ron Francis out we came in with the idea of a less central game plan," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "Throw the puck at the net but more importantly, battle as hard as we could."

Sykora's 16th goal came off a feed from Patrik Elias, who extended his club-record points streak to 15 games. He has 15 goals and nine assists during the streak.

The Hurricanes are one point behind Boston and Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

-------------------------------New Jersey           2 0 1 0--3Carolina             1 2 0 1--4-------------------------------FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, New Jersey, Lemieux 17 (Morrison, Gomez),10:00. 2, Carolina, T Westlund 3 (Manderville, J Daniels), 10:12. 3, NewJersey, Holik 17 (Odelein), 18:21. Penalties: Kovalenko, Car(interference), 11:25; Karpa, Car (high sticking), 13:54.SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 4, Carolina, Kapanen 19 (power play) (Coffey,Oneill), 6:00. 5, Carolina, Kron 7 (Ranheim, Karpa), 9:58. Penalties: KDaneyko, N.J. (hooking), 0:51; Odelein, N.J. (roughing), 5:54; Karpa, Car(cross checking), 7:42; Oliwa, N.J. (roughing), 10:09; Wesley, Car(hooking), 15:44; K Daneyko, N.J. (Obstr hooking), 18:29.THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 6, New Jersey, Sykora 16 (Elias, Niedermayer),13:52.OVERTIME -- Scoring: 7, Carolina, Oneill 15 (unassisted), 0:16. Shots on goal:------------------------------------New Jersey            7  8  9  0--24Carolina              8  9  5  1--23------------------------------------

Power-play Conversions: Njd - 0 of 4, Car - 1 of 4. Goalies: New Jersey, Terreri (23 shots, 19 saves; record: 1-5-0). Carolina, Irbe (24, 21; record: 17-18-7). A:12,136. Referee: Trottier. Linesmen: Mcelman, Racicot.

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