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J. Staal scores in OT, Hurricanes defeat Senators

by Kurt Dusterberg /

RALEIGH, N.C.-- After 11 games, Jordan Staal had two points and no goals, and was quite frustrated.

"It happens," Staal said. "You get to the point when things aren't working, (so) you're chipping pucks to places and not holding onto the puck as much as you should."

But there was no hesitation when he stepped into a shot from the right circle in overtime to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a come-from-behind 3-2 win against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on Saturday.

"I would say it was desperate," said Staal, who has scored in three straight games. "We were there to win the game. Obviously, in the third we got real desperate trying to find that goal."

Carolina pushed the game to overtime after a dominant stretch of more than two minutes with goaltender Cam Ward off for the extra attacker. After a goal-mouth scramble, Jeff Skinner gathered a puck outside the crease and fired it past a sprawling Andrew Hammond with 3.3 seconds remaining.

Like Staal, Skinner had been struggling. The two-time 30-goal scorer had two goals through the first 13 games.

"Hopefully this is the start of a good roll for me," said Skinner, who took the puck on his backhand before flipping it past Hammond and two defenders. "I felt like I've had a couple good looks recently that normally I'd like to see go in."

Cam Ward made 19 saves for the Hurricanes, improving to 5-5-0.

Hammond was sharp all game, particularly when Carolina took a combined 29 shots in the second and third periods. He squeezed his pads on a heavy shot from Justin Faulk with 1:13 remaining, reaching behind him to make sure the puck didn't trickle into the net.

In the moments prior to the tying goal, Hammond stopped Faulk again before Staal batted a rebound over the net. Kris Versteeg then hammered a shot from the point, and Skinner got off a shot in close, but Hammond, who finished with 43 saves, made the stop.

Faulk put Carolina (6-8-0) up 1-0 with his League-leading fifth power-play goal at 4:21 of the second period. Victor Rask won the faceoff back to Faulk, who beat Hammond over the blocker. The goal came on the second of three straight Ottawa penalties in a span of 3:44.

"You can't score if you don't shoot," Faulk said. "I get a lot of help from the guys with screens in front. It's so hard to beat goalies without a screen. Pretty much all the credit goes to the guys who are willing to stand in front and get hit by a few at the odd time."

When Faulk went off for delay of game a few minutes later, the Senators (7-4-3) tied it on their first power-play opportunity. Patrick Wiercioch sent a backhand pass just out of the reach of defenseman Ron Hainsey to Alex Chiasson who drove the net for a re-direct at 11:37. Mark Stone, returning to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension, had the secondary assist.

Ottawa made it 2-1 on Chris Wideman's first NHL goal. After Bobby Ryan held in Carolina's clearing attempt along the wall, Mika Zibanejad found Wideman along the goal line for a bad-angle shot under Ward's glove. Wideman, a fourth-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, was playing in his fourth game.

The Senators have gone winless at PNC Arena (0-11-2) since a 6-0 victory Dec. 12, 2007.

"Frustrated is a good word to describe tonight," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "We didn't win enough faceoffs. We were chasing the puck all day. You've got to execute. You've got to do everything for 60 minutes."

The win was an emotional lift for the Hurricanes after losing their first two home games this month, including a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. Carolina is hoping to take advantage of a month in which they have nine of 13 games at home.

"Especially off a back-to-back against a good team, it's huge for the guys," Faulk said. "It's good for situations going forward, knowing if we are down one we can keep pressing and fighting to get that tying goal. We now know we can do it at the last second, but hopefully it's not like that every night."

Carolina coach Bill Peters asked his players to play with more desperation before the game. In the latter stages of the game, he saw what wanted.

"I think it's going to go a long way," Peters said. "There's always a lot of emotion when you come back and win a game the way we did."

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