Ottawa Senators\' Jason Spezza (19) drives the puck up the ice as Carolina Hurricanes\' Eric Staal (12) gives chase during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, March 25, 2009. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Gerry Broome
RALEIGH, N.C. - Anton Babchuk scored with 6:01 remaining and the Carolina Hurricanes won their season-high fifth straight game, beating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Wednesday night in a matchup of two of the NHL's hottest teams.
Rod Brind'Amour tied it for Carolina at 3:15 of third. The Hurricanes matched a club record with their ninth straight victory at home, a mark set during their run to the Stanley Cup in 2005-06.
Ryan Shannon scored for the Senators, who were denied their season-high sixth straight win. They had won nine of 10 to move within nine points of the East's eighth playoff spot, but fell to 12-19-4 on the road.
Babchuk's winner came 1:29 into Carolina's third power play of the night.
He took a feed from Joni Pitkanen near the back of the right circle and unloaded a hard slap shot that beat rookie goalie Brian Elliott high for his 13th goal and fourth in five games.
Elliott, who took a bid for his first shutout into the third, stopped 28 shots for the Senators before he was pulled with about 1 1/2 minutes left for an extra attacker.
Cam Ward, who made his 23rd straight start, finished with 21 saves for Carolina.
Shannon finally beat Ward and broke a scoreless tie just over a minute into the third.
Nick Foligno scooped up the puck behind the net and tried to wrap it around and past Ward, but it slipped past Babchuk and to Shannon, who tapped it in from point-blank range for his sixth goal.
Brind'Amour tied it with 16:45 left when he snapped the rebound of Ray Whitney's shot from the high slot past Elliott for his 14th goal and sixth in 10 games - by far the best stretch of the season for the Hurricanes' 38-year-old captain.
That quick start to the third was in stark contrast to the way this one was played during the first two periods - when there were few shots, fewer penalties and only an occasional quality scoring chance.
The teams combined for three penalties through 40 minutes, and Carolina thought it claimed a 1-0 lead roughly 5 minutes in when the rebound of Babchuk's slap shot clicked off Jussi Jokinen's skate and past Elliott.
A review showed that he instead kicked the puck.
The Hurricanes' next-best scoring opportunity came in the opening seconds of the third, when Eric Staal rang the post with a wrist shot about 45 seconds before Shannon's goal.
Notes: Whitney's assist was the 500th of his career. ... Foligno has assists in three straight games. ... Carolina C Matt Cullen (foot) missed his second straight game. The next game he skates will be the 800th of his career. ... Ottawa D Brian Lee was a late scratch with an upper-body injury. RW Shean Donovan, scheduled to be a healthy scratch, wound up playing.