Hurricanes Blow By Senators

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A week ago, Carolina lost at home to the lowly New York Islanders. On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes did an about face and beat one of the better teams in the NHL.

Bates Battaglia and Robert Kron scored and Arturs Irbe lost a shutout in the final minute as the Hurricanes defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1.

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  • "This is the best game we've had in a long time," said Carolina captain Ron Francis, who assisted on Battaglia's second-period goal. "I don't know if it was because we were so fearful playing against such a good team. Our guys came out and worked hard to 60 minutes. That's a good sign."

    Irbe, who has struggled this season after an all-star campaign last year, lost his shutout with 48 seconds left when Shawn McEachern netted his sixth of the season on a deflection.

    Kron's second goal of the season with 2:59 left had all but sealed it for Carolina before McEachern's late score. Kron's goal came on a semi-breakaway after Irbe had made a nifty pad save.

    Battaglia's seventh goal of the season tied his total in 60 games last year.

    Ottawa had won four of five and were 9-1-1 against the Eastern Conference coming into the game, but the Hurricanes won their second straight home game after starting 1-3 in their new arena.

    "There was no question that there was pressure early on to win at home," said Carolina coach Paul Maurice.

    The Hurricanes started out in their new building with lopsided losses to New Jersey and Toronto. Then came a 2-0 loss to the Islanders last week.

    "Our confidence was shaken, no question," Maurice said. "We've won three games in here now and we can start looking at this place as a good place for us to be."

    Francis, among the league leaders with 15 assists, set up Battaglia with a centering pass from behind the net 3:03 into the second period. All Battaglia had to do was flick the puck from point-blank range by Patrick Lalime.

    Sami Kapanen, off to the best start of his five-year career, also assisted on the Battaglia goal for his 20th point in 18 games.

    "I saw both (Ron) and Sami back there so I knew one of them would come out of there with their head up so I had to have my head up," Battaglia said of his goal. "Sure enough it was on my tape and I had nothing but net to shoot at."

    Irbe stopped 17 shots in the first, but didn't face a shot until midway through the second period as the Hurricanes outworked and outhit the co-leaders of the Northeast Division.

    "I think (Irbe) played great, but I don't think we tested him enough," said McEachern.

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