RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Peter Laviolette had to sweat a bit to get a victory in
his Carolina coaching debut Thursday night.
Rod Brind'Amour and Jeff O'Neill broke long scoring droughts when the
slumping Hurricanes scored two late goals to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1
"We're in a position right now where we can't afford to let any slip
away," Laviolette said of a team that came into the game 13th overall in the
"It's going to be a long battle and we need to just collect points. It
doesn't matter if it happens early in the game, late in the game or in
Laviolette, who replaced Paul Maurice on Monday, promised an up-tempo system
that would produce more scoring and exciting action.
But the lowest scoring team in the NHL couldn't muster a goal against the
worst defensive team in the league until Brind'Amour broke his 14-game scoring
slump 15 seconds after Kevin Weekes left the Carolina net for an extra attacker
with 1:10 left.
Brind'Amour banked in a shot from the side of the net after taking a pass
from Josef Vasicek as Carolina outshot Pittsburgh 34-11 in regulation.
"Sometimes when those games happen you get this eerie feeling inside that
maybe things just aren't going to bounce your way," Laviolette said of
Carolina's lopsided shot total.
O'Neill then scored halfway through the five-minute, sudden-death overtime,
taking a pass from Ron Francis on a two-on-one to score his first goal in 13
games and first game-winner of the season.
"I felt like David Duval and I said, `Just put it in the fairway,"'
O'Neill said of the wide open net he faced. "It was a great play by Ronnie. It
felt like the old days.
"Still, we can't climb up to the top of our vision in 31/2 hours," O'Neill
said when asked about the importance of the victory.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh left town bitter after blowing a late lead.
"This is a tough thing to swallow," said defenseman Drake Berehowsky, who
was on the ice for both Carolina goals. "We realized we let one slip out of
As usual, Carolina had numerous chances, especially early in the third when
Pittsburgh's Aleksey Morozov took a four-minute, high-sticking penalty 25
But the Hurricanes managed just three shots, and a minute later Eric Staal
hit the crossbar.
Sebastien Caron then robbed the Carolina rookie with a great glove save with
4:16 left as he broke through two Pittsburgh defensemen.
Konstantin Koltsov scored in consecutive games for the first time this
season when he turned a Carolina turnover into an easy goal with 5:19 left in
Carolina defensemen Sean Hill and Glen Wesley mishandled the puck and it
popped out in front of the net to Koltsov, who beat a surprised Weekes.
Koltsov had the game-winner for Pittsburgh two days ago against Buffalo.