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Whitney tallies twice as Hurricanes topple Senators

Nov 5, 2006 - 2:51 AM OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Ray Whitney and the Carolina Hurricanes healed their power-play woes.

Whitney scored a pair of goals, including the power-play game-winner, as the Hurricanes held on for a 3-2 triumph over the slumping Ottawa Senators.

The victory came on the heels of Carolina's 4-0 loss at Montreal on Thursday, a game in which the reigning Stanley Cup champions went scoreless on all eight of their power plays.

But after looking sluggish for most of the first two periods Saturday, the Hurricanes stormed back for their fourth win in their last six games, going 2-for-7 with a man advantage along the way.

"We had many excuses for keeping off the scoresheet on the power play," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We didn't create opportunities, we didn't cash in. They scored early, which magnified things a bit."

Carolina finally got on the board on Erik Cole's whacky power-play tally from behind the net with five minutes left in the middle session. Whitney rang home a slap shot 58 seconds into the third period to forge a 2-2 tie.

"There were a couple of ugly power plays early that didn't give us much confidence," Whitney said. "Getting that lucky one from behind the goal was good. Sometimes it's a goal like that which gives you confidence on the power play."

The Hurricanes took the lead for good with 9:29 remaining when Whitney took a feed from Cole near the top of the slot and blasted a shot past former Carolina goaltender Martin Gerber.

"I got it in the slot, but I didn't see much around, even though I had plenty of time to shoot," Whitney said. "Eric Staal was right in front. I couldn't see Gerber, so I figured he couldn't see me. I just tried to pass it to the top forward and if it goes in, it goes in."

Cam Ward made 24 saves while Cole added a pair of assists for the Hurricanes, who have played 11 of their first 15 games on the road.

"We got a lot of pretty good opportunities because we got to the loose pucks," Cole said. "When you continue doing that, you'll create opportunities. I don't know if we did anything different, but we executed."

Gerber, who was the Hurricanes' No. 1 goalie for much of last season before losing his starting job to Ward in the playoffs, stopped 37 shots against his former club.

"We have to learn to protect leads and push harder into games," said Gerber, who signed a three-year deal worth $11.1 million this past offseason. "It's tough on everybody, but we know our guys can change it and it has to come from us."

Captain Daniel Alfredsson scored just two minutes into the contest for the Senators, who have lost three straight.

One of the NHL's most explosive offensive clubs last season, Ottawa went scoreless on its seven power plays.

"We took a two-goal lead and then they scored on the power play a couple of times, including a lucky one banking in off Gerber," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "They got another through a screen and the final one was a good shot by Whitney. Every game the power play has to be good, but right now it's struggling."

In spite of their struggles on both ends of the ice, the Senators had a golden chance to force overtime when Alfredsson gained control between the faceoff circles with no defenders in front. But his slap shot rang off the right goalpost, ending Ottawa's hopes of a comeback.

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