NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Carolina
(Thursday, November 30th)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Montreal 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Erik Cole's two goals paced the Carolina Hurricanes, as they doubled up the Montreal Canadiens, 4-2 at RBC Center.
Justin Williams and Eric Belanger provided the other two goals, and Cam Ward made 25 saves to post his first win since November 18th for the Hurricanes, who have won two of three.
Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens, who have dropped two of their last three games. Cristobal Huet was shelled in the loss, giving up four goals on 48 shots.
Montreal struck first off a Carolina turnover, midway through the first period. Guillaume Latendresse chased down a botched Carolina clearing feed deep in their own zone, skated in and froze Ward by faking a shot, then slipped it to Ryder on the right side for an easy tap in.
Cole tied things up a little over five minutes later with a great individual effort. Skating into the Canadiens zone up the middle, his initial wrister was stopped, but the rebound kicked right into Cole's path to the net. He followed up by tucking a shot right along the ice under Huet's outstretched arm.
Cole got his second of the night 8:23 into the second, under similar circumstances. Scott Walker dropped a pass for Cole just inside the blue line, and he let a slapper go from 45 feet. That shot was turned aside with the blocker by Huet, but another long rebound kicked out to Cole as he skated towards the right circle. His second chance wrister hit the net low to the far side.
"From start to finish he was powerful, in his stride, on the puck, driving the net," said Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette of Cole. "He was really strong out there."
The Canadiens showed some life after that goal, and knotted the game at two exactly seven minutes later, when Plekanec took a Sergei Samsonov lead pass in the neutral zone and cranked up a slapper from the left side that beat Ward cleanly off the far side post.
The Canes then broke the game open with two goals in 46 seconds late in the third.
Off a rush into the Montreal zone, Ray Whitney's spinning shot in the slot was muted by a Canadiens defenseman. The slowly sliding puck came right to Williams, who turned to the backhand and lifted the puck over Huet's shoulder, putting Carolina ahead, 3-2 with 7:33 left in the period.
The lead quickly doubled to 4-2 as Belanger corralled a loose puck in the left circle and let a rising shot go that hit a small space high to the short side.
Carolina completely dominated the period, outshooting Montreal 20-8 and not allowing them a quality chance before putting the game away in the late stages.
"I don't know what happened there," Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau said. "Two weak plays, and it was two goals. That was the turnaround right there. We know against them we can't take any easy shifts, they got a good pressure on us, and we just didn't respond."
Each team has won a game in the head-to-head series this year, with both games played in Carolina...Ward had not played since November 21st, yielding to backup John Grahame...Carolina was scoreless in four power-play chances, Montreal came up empty in three opportunities...The Hurricanes host Boston on Saturday, and the Canadiens host Toronto also on Saturday.
11/30 23:20:02 ET