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NHL Jackets fall behind early, can't catch up



Published: Fri, March 14, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Carolina led 4-0 in the first period and won 6-5.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- With just 35 first-period goals in 69 games, the Carolina Hurricanes almost didn't know how to react to a big early lead.

The Hurricanes scored four goals in the opening 17 1/2 minutes, then had to hang on for a 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

"We don't have a lot of experience with that and they skated in the third and we didn't," said Carolina coach Paul Maurice, whose club gave up four goals and 20 shots over the final 20 minutes.

Brad DeFauw ended up saving Carolina, scoring twice in his NHL debut, including the game-winner with 2:37 remaining.

"I just wanted to go out and keep it simple and play hard and whatever happened, happened," said DeFauw, who scored his first NHL goal less than 14 minutes in. "I guess it went my way."

Other goals

Craig Adams, Kevyn Adams and Jeff O'Neill also scored in the first to help Carolina to its first three-game winning streak since Nov. 29-Dec. 3.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets lost their sixth straight road game.

"We weren't ready to play the first 10 minutes and that was the game right there," said Geoff Sanderson, who scored 11 seconds after DeFauw's second goal to make it interesting over the final minute.

"It shows some character coming back, but we've got to be ready to play," Sanderson said. "That's rule No. 1 in this game."

Carolina, the defending Eastern Conference champions, was 3-22-4-3 in its previous 32 games before registering its third three-game winning streak of what has been a disappointing season.

Andrew Cassels, Ray Whitney and David Vyborny also added third-period goals for Columbus, but the Blue Jackets failed to score over the final 47.5 seconds with their goalie pulled.

Low-scoring team

Carolina, last in the league in goals, notched its first four-goal opening period since Jan. 9, 2001 -- a 7-3 victory over Florida.

Columbus goaltender Marc Denis was replaced after DeFauw made it 3-0, but Carolina's first three goals were more the result of defensive breakdowns by the team that has allowed the most goals in the Western Conference.

Kevin Weekes, coming off a pair of shutouts, had his career-best scoreless streak ended at 155 minutes, 47 seconds when Vyborny scored on a short-handed breakaway 4:09 into the second.

But Craig Adams notched his first two-goal game with 5:39 left in the second, scoring on a rebound at the tail end of a 5-on-3 advantage as the Hurricanes pushed the lead back to four before the Columbus comeback.




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