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Hurricanes, Capitals grab wins to force deciding tie

THE Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals staved off elimination to force Game 7 in their respective Eastern Conference playoff series with decisive victories on Sunday.

The host Hurricanes stormed to a 4-0 triumph over the New Jersey Devils after the visiting Capitals had earlier defeated the New York Rangers 5-3.

Eric Staal scored twice and had an assist for the Hurricanes, while Ray Whitney scored once and assisted on three others and Cam Ward made 28 saves for a fired-up Carolina, which evened the series at 3-3.

"We got out of the gate (first)," Carolina coach Paul Maurice told reporters. "And that affects your team. If you handle it right it can give you some jump and I really thought it did."

Carolina blasted 15 shots at Devils netminder Martin Broduer during the opening period while New Jersey mustered only four.

Whitney scored midway through the period off assists by linemates Staal and Chad LaRose.

Then Staal struck twice within three minutes during the second period and Jussi Jokinen added a 5-on-3 clincher in the third as Carolina peppered Broduer with 37 shots for the game.

"I guess the difference tonight was the team that played like there was no tomorrow and the other played like there was," Devils coach Brent Sutter said.

Game 7 of a see-saw series in which neither team has won consecutive contests is in New Jersey today.

In New York, former Rangers defenseman Tom Poti had a goal and three assists as Washington won its second consecutive game to tie the series at 3-3.

The second seeded Capitals also had goals from two other defensemen, Mike Green and Milan Jurcina, while Russian forwards Viktor Kozlov and Alex Ovechkin also scored. Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal responded for the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist, whose netminding enabled New York to take a 3-1 lead in the series, gave up five goals on 20 shots before being replaced.

"(Lundqvist) can't play every time like a god," Ovechkin said.

"He can't save the game every time."

Washington led 5-1 after two periods with New York scoring twice in the third. The Capitals host Game Seven on Tuesday.

The Rangers played without coach John Tortorella, who was suspended for one game by the NHL after he threw a water bottle at an abusive fan who doused him in beer during Game 5 in Washington. Assistant Jim Schoenfeld filled in.


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