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Hurricanes set franchise records vs. slumping Rangers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Doug Weight is starting to look comfortable
with his new team, and that's a welcome sight for the NHL-leading
Carolina Hurricanes.

Weight scored two goals and had an assist to help the Hurricanes
set franchise records for victories, home wins and points in a
season with a 5-3 victory over the slumping New York Rangers 5-3 on
Tuesday night.

Matt Cullen, Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman also scored for
the Hurricanes, who earned their 44th victory, 27th home win and
94th point in the standings -- surpassing three records set in
Hartford during the 1986-87 season.

Martin Gerber finished with 41 saves to help Carolina avoid its
first four-game losing streak of the season.

Michael Nylander scored two goals for New York, which has lost
six straight after wining seven in a row. Petr Sykora also scored
for the Rangers.

Weight, acquired from St. Louis on Jan. 30, didn't score a goal
in his first 11 games with Carolina before finding the net in
Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to Florida. But the 14-year NHL
veteran and four-time All-Star followed that with his best showing
for the Hurricanes, who need extra production after losing Erik
Cole (30 goals) to a broken vertebra in his neck earlier this
month.

"I love the fact that this team feels I can be a big piece of
the puzzle to help us win," Weight said. "That excites me. It's a
big move. You're away from your family and you're nervous about
your teammates, and I'm the kind of guy I want to show them every
shift that I'm worth it.

"I feel really strong on the ice. I plan on contributing and
still my main goal is just to fit in on this team and help make
them better. And I plan on doing that."

Weight scored his first when he beat Kevin Weekes from the left
side early in the second period, putting Carolina ahead to stay at
2-1. Weight scored again later in the period on a smooth push up
the ice by Carolina, with Eric Staal sending the puck to the middle
to Ray Whitney, who slipped it to Weight on the right side for the
shot by Weekes 11 minutes into the period.

Carolina is hoping for similar results from veteran Mark Recchi,
the team's latest big-name acquisition. Recchi, playing in his
first home game since being acquired from Pittsburgh shortly before
Thursday's trade deadline, got one shot in about 17 minutes of ice
time for a team adjusting to its new pieces as it approaches the
playoffs.

"It's tough when you get traded," Hurricanes coach Peter
Laviolette said. "It's a whole new environment, surroundings, and
every day provides a comfort level. You feel a little better, a
little easier about what you're supposed to be doing here. I think
it's really starting to show with (Weight)."

Carolina also got a strong game from Commodore, who scored early
in the third to make it 4-2. He followed that with a big defensive
play, stopping a shot from Martin Straka that slid between Gerber's
legs and nearly crossed the line with about 7½ minutes left.

New York twice cut the deficit to one goal, the last time coming
at 4-3 when Sykora corralled a loose puck during a scramble in
front of the crease and beat Gerber with about 2 minutes left. But
Stillman closed the door with an empty-net goal in the final
minute.

That leaves the Rangers, holding a two-point lead on
Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, hoping to end their skid
during a four-game homestand that starts Thursday night against
Washington.

"It's not a good situation that we are in," said Jaromir Jagr,
who earned his 50th assist on Nylander's first goal. "Everybody
knows how important these next four games are at home. It might be
our season. That's the way I look at it. I thought we started
playing better in the last two games. It's just that the results
are not there."

Game notes
Carolina defensemen Bret Hedican (illness) and Niclas
Wallin (lower-body injury) did not play. ... Gerber played in his
100th NHL game. ... Cole, out for the rest of the regular season,
said he hopes to know more about a possible return for the playoffs
in a few weeks. "It's so tough to tell right now," he said. ...
New York defenseman Marek Malik missed his fifth straight game
because of a shoulder sprain.