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Whitney scores two as Carolina beats Colorado 2-1

by John Kreiser

The Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche don't see each other very much. That might be a good thing.

Ray Whitney scored twice Friday night as the 'Canes held off the Avs 2-1 in a game notable for the chippiness between the non-conference opponents. Cam Ward stopped 29 shots and was within 15.5 seconds of hid 13th career shutout before Brandon Yip scored for the Avs, who've lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since mid-November.

"We've got to find a way to bury" the puck, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "We kept coming after them, especially in the second and third period. We just couldn't pull it behind them today."

The game featured 58 penalty minutes -- including 42 in a combative first period.

"Playing that kind of game is tiring," Whitney quipped. "I don't know if you can do it much longer than that."

There were hard feelings stemming from the teams' last meeting on Oct. 23, when Carolina's Tuomo sent Colorado's Darcy Tucker into the boards and, eventually, off the ice on a backboard, leaving behind a pool of blood on the ice.

This time, the two went at it 3:58 into the game

"It was a little redemption from Tucker," Yip said.

Ward, who made his 11th straight start, flirted with his first shutout since a 9-0 victory over the New York Islanders.

"You want to go out there, you want to try to give your team a chance to win each and every night," Ward said. "I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable -- I've got more of a smile on my face, and having some fun out there."

Whitney scored 5:30 into the game on a brilliant individual effort. With the 'Canes on a power play, he took a pass from Cullen, skated by a turned-around Ryan Wilson between the hash marks and slipped a backhand past Peter Budaj

"[Wilson] was standing flat-footed -- that's not an enviable position to be in when a guy's coming with speed at you," Whitney said. "Budaj thought I was going to shoot it right away, and he kind of slipped a little bit himself."

Whitney made it 2-0 37 seconds into the second period, skating down the right side, faking a slap shot and instead sneaking a wrist shot past Budaj for his 13th goal. That gave him his third multigoal game of the season and first since Dec. 12, when he scored twice in a 4-2 loss to Ottawa.

That came after things got off to a chippy start when Tucker and Ruutu dropped their gloves -- the first in a series of dustups between the teams.

Ruutu didn't return after sustaining an upper-body injury.

"That's kind of a code of ethics, when you hit a guy the way he did and knock him out for a certain period of time, you kind of have to answer it the next time," Whitney said. "He was a man about it, and he lined up with him. He could have went to the other side, but he lined up and did kind of what is required in the game of hockey.

"Unfortunately, he hurt himself doing it, but as teammates and a group of players, you respect him even more for standing up."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

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