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Win lets Hurricanes tie record
Published March 4, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. - Erik Cole and Eric Staal each had two goals to help the Carolina Hurricanes tie a franchise record for home victories by beating the Florida Panthers 5-2 Friday night.
Craig Adams also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to an NHL-best 26-5-1 at home. That equaled the previous mark set 19 years ago when the team played in Hartford, but they'll have to wait nearly two weeks to break it.
"It's not something we're focused on or talking about here in the room," Cole said. "We're just trying to win every game, and the points are the most important thing for us."
Nine of Carolina's next 10 games are in the road, a stretch that begins tonight in Pittsburgh.
Martin Gerber, in his first action since playing for Switzerland in the Olympics, stopped 37 shots to improve to 5-0 this season against the Panthers.
He was particularly solid while the Hurricanes staved off a pair of 5-on-3 power plays in the second period.
Bret Hedican and Cory Stillman each finished with two assists.
Florida lost for the second time in three games and remained well outside the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. With the trade deadline less than a week away, a decision will have to be made on high-priced center Olli Jokinen.
Chris Gratton and Serge Payer scored for the Panthers.
SABRES 6, LEAFS 2: Derek Roy scored three goals and Ryan Miller made 21 saves for Buffalo. A power-play goal with 3.5 seconds remaining gave Roy his first NHL hat trick. Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Maxim Afinogenov had three assists for Buffalo. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost their fourth straight.
CANUCKS 5, BLACKHAWKS 4 (SO): Markus Naslund scored the only shootout goal, capping Vancouver's comeback. The Canucks, trailing 3-0 after the first period and 4-2 following 40 minutes, got even when Brendan Morrison ripped a high shot from the slot past Craig Anderson with 6:56 left in regulation.
OILERS 3, SHARKS 2: Edmonton's Ales Hemsky scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:07 left. Hemsky beat defenseman Josh Gorges with an inside-out deke, then slid the puck under goalie Vesa Toskala. The Oilers snapped a four-game losing streak and handed the Sharks their first loss in five games. Raffi Torres and Shawn Horcoff also scored for Edmonton in the third period after a scoreless opening 40 minutes. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton scored for San Jose.
FLYERS PUNISHED: Philadelphia forward Donald Brashear was suspended for one game by the NHL for instigating a fight Thursday with New York Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis. Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock was also fined $10,000. Brashear will miss Philadelphia's game at the New York Islanders tonight. He will lose $8,918 in salary.
LAFONTAINE HONORED: Pat LaFontaine, Buffalo's captain from 1992-97, became the sixth Sabres player to have his number (16) retired by the team. He joined Gilbert Perreault (11), Rick Martin (7), Rene Robert (14), Tim Horton (2) and Danny Gare (18).
STARS: Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher, a 12-year veteran with career highs in goals and points this season, signed a three-year contract extension.
WILD: Minnesota signed goaltender Manny Fernandez to a multiyear contract extension before its game against Anaheim.
PREDATORS: Nashville center Yanic Perreault will miss two to four weeks with a strained knee.