The Carolina Hurricanes ended their 14-game winless streak on Sunday - but only after a tense shoot-out and twice surrendering three-goal leads against the Minnesota Wild. Jussi Jokinen scored the game winner in the second round of the shoot-out as the Hurricanes beat the Wild 5-4 for their first win since October 9.
To get the vital goal, he had to beat his friend and fellow Finn Niklas Backstrom in the Wild goal with a high backhand. "He's the guy I play the most against in Finland," said Jokinen. "We practice shoot-outs with each other in the summer time. I didn't want to shoot against him because he knows me too well. It was a big mental battle." Jokinen also scored in regulation time along with Joe Corvo, Ray Whitney and Brandon Sutter. The home team gave up leads of 3-0 and 4-1, with Robbie Earl scoring twice for the Wild
"It wasn't pretty, but we got the win. That's all this team cares about right now," said the Carolina goalie, Michael Leighton. "This is a huge win," said the Carolina coach, Paul Maurice. "What kind of conversation would we be having now after a 4-1 lead if we had lost that game. "This was enormous for our players and staff. It's half a night's sleep anyway, and then we'll be back at it." Brent Seabrook's goal 41 seconds into overtime lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Dany Heatley had earlier scored his 14th goal of the season for the Sharks, tying him for the NHL lead, but San Jose could not stop the Blackhawks recording their seventh consecutive home win. "We feel we can win any night, against any team. We have a great group and we want to prove that," said Seabrook. The Sharks led 3-1 after 22 minutes before goals from Patrick Kane and John Madden sent the game into overtime.
"Sometimes the hockey gods don't work in your favour," said the Sharks' coach, Todd McLellan. "If we could have gotten the fourth one, it could have worked in our favour. But they fought back, and that's what good teams do." Slava Kozlov's first goal of the season gave the Atlanta Thrashers their fourth win in a row as they beat the visiting Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Kozlov, who had 26 goals last season, put the Thrashers in front with eight minutes left, converting a pass from Todd White after going scoreless in the first 16 games.
"Obviously it was a slow start for me. Hopefully, I will pick it up. I tried to stay calm and just work hard. It feels good," said Kozlov. Johan Hedberg, who made 34 saves in the Atlanta goal, said of Kozlov: "We need him to be a part of our team. For him to get his first goal was big for him." "We are a team that finds a way not to do the right thing," said the Edmonton coach, Pat Quinn, after watching his Oilers give-up a 2-1 lead.
* With agencies