Disputed Goal Vaults Carolina to 2-1 Series Lead
By Howard Ulman
BOSTON A disputed third-period goal gave the Carolina Hurricanes undisputed possession of the lead in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins.
Andrei Kovalenko's skate was in the crease when the puck got past Byron Dafoe 2:54 into the period. The Hurricanes then held on for their second straight 3-2 win and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinal Monday night.
Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Boston.
With the score tied at 2, Kovalenko was credited with the goal after Robert Kron passed the puck from behind the goal line to Dafoe's left. The puck appeared to precede Kovalenko into the crease and ricochet off Dafoe.
Officials reviewed the play on video as Boston coach Pat Burns yelled at them.
The Bruins split the first two games in Carolina, but a return home wasn't enough to give them the series lead. In last year's playoffs, they were 0-3 at home in losing their first-round series to Washington in six games.
The Bruins have lost their last four playoff series, while the Hurricanes are in the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, two in Carolina after moving from Hartford.
Goals by Carolina's Gary Roberts and Ray Sheppard, who scored to win Game 2 in overtime, and Boston's Sergei Samsonov and Anson Carter left the game tied after two periods.
Dafoe, who led the NHL with 10 regular-season shutouts and added one in the playoff opener, lost his bid for another just 1:05 into the game.
That's when Roberts scored his first goal of the playoffs. Jeff O'Neill put the puck in front of the net to the left of Dafoe, who sprawled after it. Roberts then gained control and scored from in close on the first shot of the game.
It was the earliest playoff goal in franchise history. The previous record was Dean Evason's goal 1:06 into a 5-4 loss to Quebec on April 16, 1987.
The Bruins tied the game at 9:48 of the first period with excellent teamwork. Landon Wilson bumped Dave Karpa off the puck in the right corner and passed back along the right boards to Joe Thornton. He quickly relayed the puck across the slot, where Samsonov connected from 15 feet against goalie Arturs Irbe.
Boston went ahead with its first goal on nine power plays in the series when Carter scored at 13:07 of the second period on a deflection of Jason Allison's blast from the right point.
But the lead lasted barely two minutes. Carolina scored on a power play after the Bruins, who led the NHL in penalty killing, were penalized for having too many men on the ice. Sheppard got his third goal of the series on a pass by Keith Primeau across the slot from right to left. Dafoe dived in Sheppard's direction, but the puck went under the goalie's stick.
The Hurricanes played their second straight game without Ron Francis, who sprained his ankle in Game 1 after leading the team in scoring in the second half of the season.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press