RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Josef Vasicek was switched from center to
left wing this season and asked by management pick up his scoring.
The move has paid off for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Vasicek had a career-high three goals and Kevin Weekes recorded
his second straight shutout in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks
on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-4 Vasicek, nicknamed the Czech Condor, now has four
goals and three assists in eight games. Last year, he had just 10
goals and 10 assists in an injury-riddled season.
"We put pressure on him to have a breakout year," coach Paul
Maurice said of Vasicek, who is in his fourth NHL season. "I still
think he's got another level to play at. He's getting some points,
but I think he can be even more dominant."
Carolina is unbeaten in six straight (2-0-4) as Weekes extended
his shutout streak to a career-best 165 minutes.
Weekes, who stopped 28 shots for his 15th career shutout, beat
Boston 2-0 five days ago.
After scoring nine goals in their first six games, the
Hurricanes' offense is also starting to produce, scoring seven over
a two-game span.
Jeff O'Neill assisted on all of Vasicek's goals to match a
career high. O'Neill last had three assists in a game in October
Once again, the Hurricanes outworked their opponent from the
start, frustrating the Sharks, who turned to their fists in the
second period to try to get even.
That planned backfired as Vasicek put Carolina up 2-0 after a
pair of fights gave the Hurricanes the power play.
About four minutes later, Vasicek had his hat trick after
deflecting a shot in off a centering pass from Danny Markov, who
had two assists.
"Isn't that great," Vasicek said when asked about the cascade
of hats that hit the ice after his third goal. "Hockey's a great
game. It's my first one ever and I just have to thank the guys for
There were a total of six fights, including one with 10:20 left
in which Wayne Primeau received 32 penalty minutes, resulting in a
seven-minute Carolina power play.
"They play that style of game and if you allow it to happen
then they are going to have their way with you, and if you don't,
you get this kind of game," Maurice said of the combined 137
penalty minutes handed out.
"We are two teams that are not very happy about the way we're
playing and our frustrations ran over," San Jose's Mike Ricci
said. "Sometimes that stuff happens."
Carolina was outshot 8-0 just 13 minutes in, before O'Neill set
up the game's first goal.
O'Neill broke free down the right wing, but Vesa Toskala didn't
bite on his fake and swept the puck to the side with his goalie
stick. O'Neill stayed with the play and his centering pass to a
crowded front of the net was deflected in by Vasicek.
"We had a lot of guys spilling their guts out but there are
still two or three guys who aren't willing to pay the price to win
a game," coach Ron Wilson said as his club fell to 0-3-3 in its
last six. "This is not Wal-Mart. There are no discounts in this
Bob Boughner make his Carolina debut after missing seven
games with a fractured left hand. ... Defenseman Sean Hill played
all 82 games for the Hurricanes last season, but missed Tuesday
night with a groin injury. ... Vincent Damphousse played in his
174th straight game, tying Jeff Friesen for third-best in Sharks
history. Mike Ricci played in 228 in a row from 1997-2000. ...
Defenseman Allen Rourke made his NHL debut for the Hurricanes.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: PNC Arena Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Referees: Mike Leggo, Ian Walsh Linesmen: Steve Barton, David Brisebois