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OVERWORKED ISLANDERS CAN'T NAVIGATE STORM AGAINST HURRICANES THIS TIME AROUND

Three games in four days took its toll on the New York Islanders.

New York played a sharp first period but sagged against the Carolina Hurricanes, who scored three times early in the second period for a 3-1 victory Saturday.

"We've played as many games as anyone," Islanders coach Mike Milbury said. "We had a very good first period, but weren't able to score. They had a stretch of 10 minutes where they took it to us."

New York, which beat Philadelphia on Wednesday night and lost to Ottawa on Thursday night, took a 3-0 lead in its previous game against Carolina before allowing six straight goals. Hurricanes captain Keith Primeau said his team was focusing on the first period.

"We knew they were going to come out hard in the first period, and we were able to weather the storm," Primeau said. "We were able to keep them to the outside. They never really clogged up the middle."

New York skated well in the first period and held the Hurricanes without a shot for the first 14 minutes but only managed six shots against goalie Trevor Kidd, getting only 22 overall. The Hurricanes scored at 14:34, but Kent Manderville's goal was disallowed because teammate Paul Ranheim had a skate in goalie Tommy Salo's crease.

Kevin Dineen opened the scoring at 3:07 of the second period on a perfect screen shot from the lower left circle that rang off the right post and in. New York killed a penalty after that, and was gaining momentum until Sami Kapanen scored the eventual winning goal at 6:25. Kapanen had the puck down low to Salo's right, and swept a backhand off the right post.

"I was down low and got to the goal line," Kapanen said. "I saw Primeau cut in, and I tried the backhand. If he saved it, Keith was there for a rebound."

Primeau got his own goal 61 seconds later while Carolina was on a power play, getting a rebound in front of Salo and stuffing the puck in.

"We seemed to sag after that second goal," Milbury said. "Tommy (20 saves) was solid again today, and I didn't see a lack of effort. We just couldn't score."

Sergei Nemchinov scored at 14:02 of the final period on a backhand.

"Our consistency has been better this season than it was my other two years here," Primeau said after Carolina evened its record at 10-10-3.

New York lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Penguins 4, Canadiens 3

MONTREAL -- Martin Straka scored three goals, leading Pittsburgh to a victory over struggling Montreal.

Straka scored one of his goals during a two-goal burst within 15 seconds of the second period that snapped a 1-1 tie.

Straka made it 2-1 with only a minute left in the period. The Pittsburgh forward took a pass from newly-acquired Alexei Kovalev and beat goaltender Jose Theodore with a low slap shot to the glove side on the power play.

The Penguins scored at 19:15 to take a 3-1 lead. Robert Lang skated down the right wing before beating Theodore with a wrist shot.

Straka also had a goal earlier in the second period and one in the third to give him 13, placing him among the top five in league goal scoring.

Patrick Poulin, Jonas Hogland and Martin Rucinsky scored for the Canadiens, who have lost seven of their last eight games.

Maple Leafs 3, Senators 2 (OT)

TORONTO -- Derek King's second goal of the game, on a power play 42 seconds into overtime, gave Toronto a comeback victory over Ottawa and extended the Maple Leafs' home winning streak to six games.

Steve Thomas had the other goal for Toronto, which halted the Senators' winning streak at four games.

Alexei Yashin and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa, which is 8-1-1 when leading after the first period.

Devils 3, Avalanche 2

DENVER -- Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots and Patrik Elias scored his first goal in 16 games and had an assist as New Jersey scored its third straight victory over Colorado.

Bobby Holik had a goal and an assist and Jason Arnott a goal for the Devils, who haven't lost two in a row since the first two games of the season.

Adam Deadmarsh and Claude Lemieux scored for the Avalanche.

Blues 4, Capitals 2

ST. LOUIS -- Jamie McLennan stopped 32 shots and rookie Michal Handzus scored his first career goal to lead St. Louis over Washington.

McLennan, playing in his 100th NHL game, is 4-3 since taking over for Grant Fuhr, who suffered a groin injury on Nov. 7.

The Blues are 3-2-1 in their last six games while the Capitals are 2-4 in their last six.

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