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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001

Hurricanes hold off Devils one more time

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Arturs Irbe stopped 37 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes refused to call it a season for the second straight game, beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Devils 3-2 Friday night.

The win cut the Devils' lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series to three games to two. Game 6 is Sunday at Raleigh, N.C.

Josef Vasicek, Sami Kapanen and Jeff O'Neill scored for the Hurricanes, who are trying to become the third team in playoff history to come back from a 3-0 deficit. The Toronto Maple Leafs did it in 1942 against Detroit, and the New York Islanders did it in 1975 against Pittsburgh.

Scott Gomez and Bobby Holik scored for the Devils, who lost consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 22-23.

Irbe stole Game 5, making at least a dozen great saves. Holik's goal with 20 seconds left only made the score close.

Kapanen, who set up Rod Brind'Amour's overtime winner in Game 4, put the Hurricanes ahead for good with a shot from close range with 4:51 left in the first period.

The Hurricanes were without injured Ron Francis (concussion), Shane Willis (concussion) and Marek Malik (groin). They stayed in Carolina to recuperate. Hurricanes spokesman Jerry Higgins says Francis and Willis are doubtful for Game 6.

BRUINS: Goalie Byron Dafoe, who missed 11 games in November and December with a swollen right knee, had arthroscopic surgery to remove torn cartilage and a bone spur behind his right kneecap.

"It should be all fixed up with two to three weeks of actual rehab time before I start getting into my regular off-season training," Dafoe said.

General manager Mike O'Connell said he is not worried about Dafoe's health.

FLYERS: General manager Bob Clarke said he intends to sign coach Bill Barber to a long-term contract this summer.

Barber, hired Dec. 10 to replace fired Craig Ramsay, is Philadelphia's fifth coach since the Red Wings swept them in the 1997 Stanley Cup final.

Barber was 31-16-7 in 54 games with a team that overcame injuries to key players and controversy over Eric Lindros's status to record 100 points. The Flyers are trailing the Sabres 3-2 in their East series that resumes in Buffalo today.

"Barber should be coach of the year with what this team has had to go through," Clarke said.

RED WINGS: Steve Yzerman won't play today in Game 5 of their West series against the Kings.

Asked if there was an update on Yzerman, coach Scotty Bowman said, "I don't know. I haven't been able to talk with him, and (trainer John Wharton) didn't say anything about it, either. We know he's not playing (today). We'll go game by game."

Yzerman played 5:58 of the first period in Game 1 but hasn't played since. He said Saturday he had a broken left index finger and an injured lower left leg. Bowman has said Yzerman has a sprained ankle. Published reports have said Yzerman has a broken ankle.

Forward Brendan Shanahan has a broken left foot and remains out indefinitely.

Also, the Red Wings sent goaltender Ken Wregget back to the IHL's Manitoba Moose, who needed him for the playoffs. They called up Aren Miller from the ECHL's Toledo Storm.

SABRES: Center Erik Rasmussen, who has missed the past three games after slightly separating his right shoulder, said he would consult with team doctors this morning to determine whether he can resume playing.

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