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Devils' last six losses have come to Hurricanes

10/30/2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are playing so well against New Jersey, they don't even need shots in the third period to win.

Jeff O'Neill had a goal and an assist and Kevin Weekes made 34 saves Tuesday night as the Hurricanes beat the Devils 2-1 despite failing to get a shot on goal in the final 20 minutes.

"I think we have such a healthy respect for the Devils that we play about as hard as we can,'' Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "It's not always pretty, but we remember some pretty good beatings at their hands over the years that we come mentally well prepared.''

Since the playoffs last season, the Hurricanes seemingly have the Devils' number. They eliminated New Jersey in six games in the opening round and now have won the first two regular-season meetings this year.

"We were almost kind of joking around, saying it's kind of like when we had the Rangers' number,'' Devils center Scott Gomez said. "A little bounce here or there, and that's all it takes. But you have to give them credit, they are the Eastern Conference champs.

"We had our chances to win the game, so yeah, right now they can say they've got our number,'' Gomez added.

Carolina also had Weekes. The big goaltender stopped about a dozen good scoring chances, including one on a second-period breakaway by Patrik Elias.

"We're more familiar with them than other teams based on the fact we have played them as often as we have,'' said Weekes, who is 3-0-1 in his last four starts. "The rivalry was born in the playoffs. It started two years ago, and in last year's playoffs it intensified.''

Jaroslav Svoboda also scored for the Hurricanes, who took all 11
of their shots against goaltender Martin Brodeur in the first two periods.

Jeff Friesen scored for New Jersey, which had a three-game
winning streak snapped in losing for only the second time in eight
games this season.

O'Neill, who extended his career-best point streak to nine games
by assisting on Svoboda's first-period goal, got the game-winner at
6:28 of the second period by deflecting a point shot from
defenseman Sean Hill past Brodeur.

O'Neill started the play by beating Devils defenseman Scott
Stevens to a puck behind the net.

"It's competitive games that seem to bring out the best in both
teams,'' O'Neill said.

Friesen tied it with a 40-foot shot from above the right circle
midway through the first.

Svoboda got his second goal of the season about 3 minutes
earlier, scoring on a rebound in front.

The goal-starved Devils failed to convert on five power-play chances. They are 3-for-43 with the extra man, worst in the league.

Game notes
O'Neill's goal was his 157th with the franchise, tying him
for seventh place with the recently retired Ray Ferraro. ...
Carolina defenseman David Tanabe returned to the lineup after
missing two games with a strained oblique muscle. ... Devils
forward Jay Pandolfo missed his third straight game with a groin
injury. ... New Jersey forward Stephen Guolla missed most of the
last two periods with a hamstring injury. ... The Devils had never
held an opponent without a shot in the third period at home.