ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The Carolina Hurricanes have little chance of making
the NHL playoffs. You can't tell by the way they're playing.
The Hurricanes got a game-tying goal from Ron Francis with 4:15 left in
regulation Sunday night to earn a 3-3 tie with the Minnesota Wild and extend
Carolina's point streak to seven games (3-0-2-2).
``There's still hope, right?'' said Carolina's Justin Williams, who also
scored. ``We have to do whatever we can to get points.''
Francis, a 23-season NHL veteran and the Hurricanes captain, came through
when it counted. He poked a loose puck out of a scramble in front of Minnesota
goaltender Manny Fernandez to send the game into overtime.
``Our leader really led the way,'' Williams said.
Marian Gaborik gave the Wild a 3-2 lead at 12:09 of the third period, and
Andrei Zyuzin scored twice for Minnesota, as two of the NHL's three
lowest-scoring teams combined for four goals in third period.
Zyuzin's second goal of the game tied it at 2 at 11:38 of the third period,
and Gaborik broke the tie 31 seconds later.
``It's been tough a little bit for me,'' said Zyuzin, a healthy scratch the
previous two games. ``I have to go through that and go on and play hard.''
Gaborik, a 30-goal scorer each of the last two seasons, has just 11 this
season. Sunday's goal was his first at home since Dec. 23.
``It was a great feeling to get a goal in front of the home crowd,'' he
said. ``It pumps you up.''
Jeff O'Neill put the Hurricanes in front 2-1 at 8:27 of the third when a
shot by Josef Vasicek deflected off O'Neill, who was tied up with Filip Kuba in
``As soon as we got the lead, it seemed like it was gone two shifts later,''
Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.
Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe, playing just his second game since his
recall from Johnstown of the ECHL, made several tough stops, including an open
chance in overtime by fellow Latvian native Sergei Zholtok.
``I've known him so long,'' said Irbe, who smothered Zholtok's wrist shot
from the right circle. ``I knew what he was going to do, especially in OT.''
Zyuzin, stopped by Irbe on a point-blank attempt in the first period, opened
the scoring at 11:38 of the second with a goal that snapped a streak of 19
straight failed power-play attempts for the Wild.
The lead was short-lived, however, because Justin Williams tied it just 36
Williams picked up a loose puck low in the left circle and moved out between
the circles. Fernandez was screened by Carolina teammate Travis Henry, and
Williams' wrist shot went through both players' legs.