Arturs Irbe had more than just the New York Rangers as an opponent. He also was fighting the flu.
Irbe, playing with a fever and chills, recorded his 22nd career shutout as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Rangers, 1-0, yesterday in Raleigh, N.C.
"I was pretty much dead meat from 6 o'clock last night until midnight, and today I felt like I was laboring hard," Irbe said. "Usually, I am just gliding in the net and barely break a sweat in a game."
Irbe, not known as a good stick-handler, said the flu wasn't all bad.
"I knew my body was a little off-balance, but it benefited me," he said. "It kept me away from all those dumb plays I can pull off."
Andrei Kovalenko's second-period goal was the game-winner. He has 10 goals in 22 career games against the Rangers.
Irbe, pulled in the second period of Friday night's 4-4 tie with Anaheim after giving up three goals, was sharp this time. He stopped 30 shots for his third shutout of the season. The closest the Rangers came to scoring was when Mathieu Schneider hit the post to the left of Irbe early in the second.
Kovalenko's goal came on a great individual effort 6 minutes 34 seconds into the second period. The left winger swept in behind the net and circled into the slot with a New York defenseman trailing, lifting a high backhanded shot over goalie Mike Richter's glove.
"They don't call him 'the Tank' for nothing," Carolina captain Ron Francis said of Kovalenko. "He is extremely strong on his skates and that was a great example. What a great goal."
BLACKHAWKS 5, AVALANCHE 3: Doug Gilmour had a goal and an assist as host Chicago snapped Colorado's five-game unbeaten streak. Dean McAmmond, Eric Daze, Tony Amonte and Alex Zhamnov also scored for Chicago, which has consecutive home victories for the first time this season.
Steve Sullivan assisted on two goals for the Blackhawks, who have the league's second-worst home record at 6-12-3.
Colorado's Peter Forsberg scored goals two minutes apart in the second period. They extended his point streak to eight games and cut the deficit to 3-2.
McAmmond gave Chicago a 1-0 lead 4:18 into the game, converting a rebound of Sullivan's shot.
The Blackhawks extended their lead to 3-0 early in the third on goals by Daze and Amonte in a 2:03 span. Daze slid a rebound of his own shot underneath goalie Marc Denis at 1:46, before Amonte scored his 20th goal by completing a give-and-go with Gilmour.
Forsberg made it 3-1 at 5:21 when he circled the net and slid a low shot between Jocelyn Thibault's pads. He tallied again at 7:21 by moving through the Chicago slot and beating Thibault.
Chris Drury had Colorado's other goal.
Zhamnov's gave the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead on the power play, scoring from the right point with 7:32 left in the second.
Drury scored on a low shot from the slot at 10:50 of the third to make it 4-3. Gilmour added an empty-net goal with 10.7 seconds left.
Saturday's Late Game
CALGARY--Valeri Bure pulled out a move he tries only in practice and helped the Calgary Flames to another overtime win.
Phil Housley scored with 32 seconds left in overtime Saturday night, and Jarome Iginla had two goals as the Flames defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2. Calgary has seven wins this season in overtime.
Bure, playing the puck behind the Tampa Bay goal, eluded Lightning defenseman Andrei Zyuzin by banking the puck off the rear of the net back to himself. He skated out front untouched and threaded a backhand pass across the crease to an open Housley.