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Hurricanes 5, Penguins 3 @NHLdotcom

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes should spot their opponents a couple goals at the start of every game.

It's worked very well so far this season.

For the fourth game in a row, the Hurricanes came back from a two-goal deficit and they won their fifth in a row by topping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Saturday night.

``There seems to be more confidence when we are down a couple goals,'' said Ray Whitney, who scored the latest winner. ``It seems when we play with no inhibitions, we play much better.''

Trailing 3-1 with less than eight minutes to play, Rod Brind'Amour, Glen Wesley and Whitney scored within a 4 1/2-minute span of the third period. Justin Williams added an empty-netter in the final minute to close out the scoring.

``It is not something you want to do because it's obviously unheard of in the NHL to do this,'' Brind'Amour said of the rallies. ``We need to get a better all-around game so we don't have to rely on coming back.''

The Hurricanes, who got four assists from NHL scoring leader Eric Staal on his 21st birthday, have earned at least one standings point in eight consecutive games.

Brind'Amour's goal, his seventh, came on the power play on assists from Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen with 7:34 to play.

``We knew if we could score one,'' Peter Laviolette said, ``that there was a chance we could pick up a little bit of momentum.''

Just 90 seconds later, Glen Wesley notched his 200th career point with the Hurricanes when his shot from the point made it through traffic. The goal was originally credited to Staal.

``We're feeling confident in our ability to stay in games,'' Staal said. ``We know if we work hard, we are never out of it. We've got the players to be able to get back in games.''

Whitney gave Carolina a 4-3 lead with 3:14 remaining while Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby was serving an interference penalty.

``I think we gave them clear-cut opportunities,'' Crosby said, whose Penguins have only one victory this season. ``It's tough to lose games like these. We have to battle back individually and battle back as a team.''

Cory Stillman had given Carolina a 1-0 lead while the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 advantage. Stillman, who finished with a goal and two assists, knocked in a pass from across the crease from Whitney at 3:19 of the first period.

The Penguins tied it at 1 when John LeClair slammed home Konstantin Koltsov's rebound with just under six minutes to play in the period. The goal was LeClair's fourth and gave him at least one point in four consecutive games.

Sergei Gonchar gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead when he scored a disputed goal on a two-man advantage at 2:06 of the second period. Gonchar's shot on a feed from Mark Recchi was caught by Carolina goalie Martin Gerber. The Penguins successfully lobbied officials Dave Jackson and Chris Rooney to review the play. Although there is no overhead camera at Mellon Arena, replay officials awarded Pittsburgh the goal.

The Penguins took a 3-1 lead when Ziggy Palffy was credited with a goal that went through Gerber's legs eight minutes into the second period. Palffy was streaking down the right wing and attempted a centering pass to Ryan Malone. The puck deflected off a Hurricanes player's stick and went into the net.

But Pittsburgh, which won its first game Thursday night to move out of last place in the Eastern Conference, couldn't score during the final 31 minutes.

``We need to be able to be more consistent and finish teams off,'' coach Eddie Olczyk said. ``This is a tough loss.''

The Hurricanes scored five third-period goals Friday night in an 8-6 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and came back from down two goals in wins over Boston on Wednesday and Ottawa last Monday.

``(Friday night) was pretty emotional,'' Laviolette said. ``We knew this game was going to be tough, being the fourth game in six nights. To come back in the third period on the road, it shows how these guys are willing to go out and work for each other.''

Notes: Crosby was held scoreless for only the second time in 11 games. ... Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux played his 900th NHL game. ... Staal, who led the NHL in scoring coming into the game, extended his points streak to six games. Cullen has a five-game streak. Frantisek Kaberle assisted on Williams' goal to extend his point streak to six. ... The Penguins embark on their longest trip of the season - five games - starting Tuesday in New Jersey.

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