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No more Stars for Weekes after shutout

12/22/2002

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Maybe the last two games will help
jump-start Jeff O'Neill's season.

O'Neill scored with 8:32 left and Kevin Weekes stopped 28 shots
for his second shutout of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes
beat the Dallas Stars 1-0 Sunday.

O'Neill's team-leading fifth game-winner came two days after he
tied the score from his knees in the final seconds at Atlanta -- a
game the Hurricanes went on to win 3-2 in overtime.

"I'm trying to put my game together,'' said O'Neill who has 11
goals after scoring 41 and 31 the last two years. "I've struggled
early on, and not a lot of good things have happened.

"But I've got a lot of pride. I know I have a carefree
attitude, but I really do care about what I'm doing on the ice, and
I'm just trying to make it work.''

Weekes recorded the 10th shutout of his career two games after
returning from a concussion that sidelined him for three weeks.

"I tried to work has hard as possible in the first two
practices when I first got back onto the ice, and once I was able
to use my mind a little bit more I was OK,'' Weekes said.

Ron Francis got his 1,200th career assist on O'Neill's goal.
Only Wayne Gretzky has more assists (1,963) than Francis.

The game was a defensive struggle and appeared to be headed to
overtime before Sami Kapanen got Marty Turco leaning the wrong way
in net and then fed O'Neill, who slipped the puck between the legs
of the Dallas goalie.

"He hasn't had a lot of breaks around the net,'' Carolina coach
Paul Maurice said of O'Neill. "That's exactly what you want him
doing, stepping into the puck and just shooting it and not looking
to make plays.''

The Hurricanes managed just six shots in 30 minutes as Dallas,
the top scoring team in the NHL, played a close checking game.

Bates Battaglia had Carolina's two best scoring chances before
O'Neill's goal. His wraparound attempt in the first period hit
Turco between the pads, dropped in the crease and was covered up.
Battaglia's slap shot from 20 feet with 6:53 left in the second was
gloved by Turco.

Dallas didn't generate much offense, either, coming off
Saturday's 5-3 loss at New Jersey. The Stars completed a five-game
road trip, and were without star Mike Modano for a third straight
game. Modano is out with a concussion, and his team went 0-2-1
without him.

"We made one mistake at the end, and the line between winning
and losing is a very thin line when both teams are playing this
way,'' Dallas coach Dave Tippett said.

O'Neill's apparent goal with 27.1 seconds left in the first was
waved off because Carolina defenseman Sean Hill was called for a
slashing penalty behind the play.

Game notes
Carolina started an all-Czech line of Josef Vasicek, Jan
Hlavac and Jaroslav Svoboda for the first time this season. ... The
Hurricanes have just 17 first-period goals in 35 games -- the worst
in the NHL. ... Turco and Weekes entered the game tied for second
in the league with a .931 save percentage. ... Francis extended his
point streak to five games.