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Hurricanes win, tie Sabres in eighth

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Joni Pitkanen is used to hearing Carolina Hurricanes fans at the RBC Center screaming at him to shoot the puck.

And Friday night at a very timely point in the game, he did just that and sent the crowd home happy.

Pitkanen scored his third goal of the season on an assist from rookie Jeff Skinner at 3:58 of overtime, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

"Jeff made a nice play there, and I decided to shoot," Pitkanen said. "I guess the other D man [Derek Joslin] screened a little bit and the goalie didn't see it. We need those points."

The win ended a two-game home losing streak for the Hurricanes and put them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points. Eighth-place Buffalo also has 76 points and two games in hand.

"As a team, it's really important that you can find a way to get to that desperation level," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Then we found it, were able to change gears and good things started happening."


Rangers top Habs

NEW YORK -- Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle scored 1:07 apart in the Rangers' highest-scoring first period in more than 11 years, and New York then held on for a key 6-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on a feisty Friday night.

The Rangers and Canadiens, fighting for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference with about three weeks left in the season, staged a postseason-like show at boisterous Madison Square Garden that held large pockets of vocal, enthusiastic Montreal fans.

They were disappointed early and often as the Rangers took control.

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