RALEIGH, NC (February 1, 2001) – Three members of the Carolina Hurricanes earned honorable mention status for league-wide monthly awards after Carolina completed the most successful January in franchise history. Right wing Jeff O’Neill and goaltender Arturs Irbe were named runners-up for NHL Player of the Month, and forward Shane Willis was named runner-up for the Rookie of the Month Award. The NHL Player of the Month Award for January went to Mario Lemieux of Pittsburgh Penguins, who scored a league-high 25 points (14g, 11a). The Rookie of the Month Award went to Ottawa Senators rookie Karel Rachunek, who tallied 10 points (1g, 9a) and a +9 rating in 14 games.
O’Neill established a new franchise record for goals in a single month by scoring 14 goals in January, including six two-goal games. The 14 goals tied Lemieux for the month. O’Neill totaled 19 points (14g, 5a) during January, and surpassed his previous career high for goals in a season (25) by upping his total to 27. O’Neill now has 29 points in his last 24 games (21g, 8a), scoring goals in 15 of those games.
Irbe extended his franchise record appearance streak to 39 consecutive games on Wednesday night against Toronto -- a span that includes 38 consecutive starts. Irbe was 8-4-2 during January with a goals against average of 2.55, and registered his 28th career shutout on Jan. 14. Irbe also set a franchise goaltending record with a nine-game unbeaten streak from Dec. 31 to Jan. 18.
Willis registered nine points (3g, 6a) in 13 games to continue his successful rookie campaign for Carolina. Willis is ranked tied for third among all rookies in scoring this season with 27 points (11g, 16a) in 45 games. He is sixth among all rookies in goals (11), third in assists (16), first in power play goals (6), third in power play assists (7), and tied for first in game winning goals (3).
The Carolina Hurricanes made January 2001 the most productive January in franchise history, compiling a record of 8-4-2 in the month for 18 points. The previous franchise record for points in January was 17 set during the 1995-96 season (8-4-1) and the 1987-88 season (8-6-1). The team also set a franchise mark for longest home unbeaten streak with a nine game stretch from Dec. 15 to Jan. 18 (8-0-1) and had a nine-game overall unbeaten streak from Dec. 31 to Jan. 18, the longest franchise unbeaten streak since the 1984-85 season.