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Canes Edge Injured Penguins


The Carolina Hurricanes know they can win on the road because they've had plenty of practice.

Bates Battaglia scored with 2:06 left in the third period as the Hurricanes ended their season-opening stretch of nine consecutive road games by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 Saturday night.

They are 4-2-3 and coach Paul Maurice has no problem with that.

"I'm very pleased," he said. "Given the quality of the opponents we were going to face through this, I'm very pleased with the way we responded."

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  • The Hurricanes finally play a home game Friday against New Jersey. They have been waiting for their new Raleigh Sports and Entertainment Arena to open.

    What pleased Maurice most about Saturday's result was the quick turnaround from a 7-3 loss in Buffalo on Friday night. Before that game, Carolina allowed only 14 goals in seven games.

    "We had a tough loss and it was also very physical," Maurice said. "We didn't have a lot of legs again tonight. We had a pretty short bench but I'm very proud of the way the team played. It was a nice win."

    Ron Francis, who assisted on all three goals, made a pass that hit off Pittsburgh defenseman Andrew Ference and went to Battaglia, who beat Peter Skudra for his third goal.

    With three points, Francis raised his season total to 12 and improved his NHL-best plus-minus total to plus-11. Coming back to a building where he played on two Stanley Cup champions was a nice added touch.

    "I think you always want to show them you can still play and still be successful," Francis said.

    The Penguins ralied from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the third.

    Carolina, playing its third game in four nights, went into a defensive shell to protect a 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes generated just one shot in the first 16 minutes of the third after outshooting the Penguins 21-12 in the first 40 minutes.

    Alexei Kovalev scored on a power play at 10:46, taking Jaromir Jagr's pass at the top of the left circle and blasting a shot over Arturs Irbe's glove for his fourth goal.

    "Nobody stops that shot," Maurice said.

    Jagr tied the score at 14:26 with a shot from a bad angle. He one-timed Michal Rozsival's pass from along the goal line and Irbe couldn't cover the puck before it crossed the goal line.

    "It popped straight up, went around his back and in," Maurice said. "That's been (Irbe's) luck. He's played well and just gotten burned on some strange bounces. I'm really happy we were able to pull that one out for him."

    The Penguins, who lost No. 1 goaltender Tom Barrasso to a knee injury in the season's second game, played Saturday without their top three centers. Martin Straka has a bruised knee and joined Jan Hrdina and Robert Lang on the injured list. Line combinations and special teams were in disarray.

    "Despite all of that, other than the second period, we did some good things and gave ourselves a chance," Pittsburgh coach Kevin Constantine said.

    The Hurricanes scored twice in a second period that saw them outshoot the Penguins 12-3. Francis' pass led to a power-play goal at 6:03, when rookie David Tanabe put a 35-foot shot through Skudra's pads. Carolina converted just 2-of-26 power-play opportunities coming into the game.

    Francis held the puck behind the net at 16:46 and found Sami Kapanen open at the left side of the net. Kapanen snapped a quick shot past Skudra's glove for his seventh goal.

    The Penguins were unbeaten (2-0-2) since losing at Dallas in their opening game. They are winless at home this year with a loss and two ties.

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