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Brind'Amour takes a 'butt' for the team

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- All the signs of another tough game
against Bobby Holik were carved on Rod Brind'Amour's face.

There were seven stitches over his left eyebrow, a streak of
blood dripping down his check and a touch of anger in his words
some 20 minutes after his Carolina Hurricanes beat New Jersey 4-2 on Saturday on a late go-ahead goal by defenseman Sean Hill.

Holik set up the winner by taking a match penalty for
butt-ending Brind'Amour in the face after a faceoff. Devils
defenseman Colin White later gave the Hurricanes a two-man
advantage with a foolish cross-checking penalty.

However, the play everyone remembered was the faceoff between
Holik and Brind'Amour in the Carolina end with just under 9 minutes
to play. Brind'Amour won it and then the game got a little crazy.

"I don't mind playing the game tough, but every time he (Holik)
loses the draw, the stick is in someone's face," said Brind'Amour,
a 13-year veteran. "I've played the game a long time and I don't
remember ever high-sticking anyone in the head, let alone doing it
over and over."

No penalty was called immediately, and an enraged Brind'Amour
responded by chasing Holik around the ice, cross-checking him
several times to earn a minor penalty.

After play was stopped, linesman Lonnie Cameron reported the
butt-end hit to referees Terry Gregson and Don Van Massenhoven, and
Holik was given a 5-minute match penalty.

Holik didn't disagree with the call, but he was upset the
officials failed to call a numbers of minor penalties earlier in
the game when he was hooked and held. He also was upset the
officials allowed Brind'Amour to hit him several times before
calling a penalty.

"I play an aggressive style and I stick out more," Holik said.
"I've dealt with it all my career and I am not going to buckle
now. It's what has made me successful. You get into situations like
that. I'm going to take it and move on."

Because he was assessed a match penalty, Holik is automatically
suspended pending a review by the commissioner.

Brind'Amour also sounded ready to move on the more he spoke.

"It's been tough," he said. "My face keeps getting in the
way. Good thing I'm married. I'm going to get into radio, not TV
when I'm done."

White's cross-checking penalty on Brind'Amour gave the
Hurricanes a two-man advantage for 1:14.

Hill scored the winner on a 40-foot straight-on shot against
Martin Brodeur. It was his sixth goal of the season.

"I was looking to just get it in front," Hill said. "We had
Roddy (Brind'Amour) in front and he did a good job screening. It
was a big play by him."

Brodeur never saw the puck.

"We were undisciplined and we paid the price for it," Brodeur
said.

Jeff O'Neill added an empty-net goal with 40.2 seconds to play
and Arturs Irbe stopped all 12 New Jersey shots in the third period
as Carolina handed the Devils only their sixth loss in 21 games
(11-6-3-1).

Josef Vasicek and Kevyn Adams also scored for the Hurricanes.
Andreas Salomonsson and Holik scored for New Jersey.

Coupled with the Islanders 2-1 win over Minnesota, New Jersey
fell two points behind New York in the race for sixth place in the
Eastern Conference, a spot that probably will lead to a first-round
playoff series against Carolina.

Adams tied it 2-2 early in the second period. Jeff Daniels stole
Salomonsson's pass near the Devils blue line and turned and shot.
It missed the net on the left side, came out the right side and
Adams was able to put it in the net before Brodeur moved across the
crease.

Holik had put New Jersey ahead 2-1 just 26 seconds into the
second period, breaking Irbe in close for his 21st goal.

Salomonsson, who just returned to the Devils after a long stint
in the minors, scored his first goal since Dec. 1 by stealing the
puck from defenseman Aaron Ward and beating Irbe at 8:46 of the
first period.

Vasicek gave Carolina a 1-0 lead at 2:27 with a shot from left
circle that found the top corner of the net.

Game notes
Cameron was dazed briefly late in the second period when he
was kicked in the ribs by the skate of Glen Wesley. The Carolina
defenseman's skate came up after he was checked. ... Holik was so
annoyed about being hooked and not getting a call, he broke his
stick over the Hurricanes' net. He got 2 minutes for
unsportsmanlike conduct. ... Devils forward Stephane Richer hit a
goalpost after Joe Nieuwendyk won a faceoff with 1.3 seconds left
in the first period.