<
>

Carolina erases two-goal deficit, beat Senators

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators needed barely 3 minutes
to take a two-goal lead, and the rough start left Carolina
goaltender Martin Gerber a bit shellshocked.

"They're for sure better feelings out there," he said with a
smile. "But the game is over after 60 minutes."

Indeed it is.

Frantisek Kaberle scored early in the third period, Gerber
finished with 44 saves and the Hurricanes rallied from that deficit
to hand Ottawa its first loss of the season, 3-2 on Monday night.

The Nashville Predators (7-0) are the only remaining unbeaten
team in the NHL.

"Do you want to lose 5-1 or 3-2 in a tough game? Either way,
it's a loss," Senators center Bryan Smolinski said. "We put them
on their heels real quick, but they stormed back."

Eric Staal and Matt Cullen also had goals for the Hurricanes,
who remained unbeaten in three home games and won for the fourth
time in five games overall. Gerber held the fourth-highest scoring
team in the NHL to its lowest output of the season.

"When you make mistakes against good teams, they come back to
haunt you," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We got careless with
the puck, and they play together. We've been doing that."

The Senators were the last Eastern Conference team without a
loss after winning their first six games. But after scoring twice
in the first 3 minutes of the first period, they couldn't solve
Gerber, who started for the first time since he injured his hip in
the opener.

"I don't think there was any question that he was the
difference," Cullen said. "He was dynamite."

Patrick Eaves got his first career goal only 14 seconds after
the opening faceoff and Jason Spezza added another a couple of
minutes later to put Ottawa up 2-0. Before play began following
Spezza's goal, Carolina enforcer Jesse Boulerice squared off with
Brian McGrattan, and the fight appeared to spur the comeback by the
Hurricanes.

"Jesse went out there and tried to rally the guys, and I think
he did," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.

The Hurricanes ended the period with a 9-8 advantage in shots,
then cut the deficit to 2-1 on Staal's sixth goal of the season. It
was helped by a poorly timed short-handed rush by Chris Kelly and
Zdeno Chara, who failed to score and gave up an edge on the other
end.

Goaltender Dominik Hasek slammed his stick to the ice repeatedly
to warn his teammates, but no one listened. Carolina captain Rod
Brind'Amour then raced down the right boards and fed Staal a pass
through Wade Redden.

"When you've got an early lead like that, you don't want to
back off at all," Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden said. "But I
think they just kept pounding and kept working, and they got a few
breaks, got a few goals, and before you know it, it's a 2-2 game."

Midway through the second, Cullen tied it on a nifty feed from
Ray Whitney before Kaberle gave the Hurricanes the lead early in
the final period. He got the puck near the blue line and quickly
shot it through a double screen of Brind'Amour and Josef Vasicek.

It bounced in off the post, and the Hurricanes held on to move
into first place in the Southeast Division.

"It's where you want to be," Cullen said. "And I don't think
we've played our best hockey yet."

Game notes
Carolina C Kevyn Adams left the game in the first period
after a vicious, but clean hit from Vaclav Varada. Adams slowly got
to his skates and headed to the bench, leaving his stick on the
ice. He went straight to the locker room but returned before the
end of the period. ... The Senators, who arrived in Raleigh on
Saturday after their game at Florida was postponed by Hurricane
Wilma, fell to 3-1 on the road.