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Carolina at Montreal

Staal's third-period goal lifts Hurricanes past Canadiens

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MONTREAL -- Cam Ward kept the Carolina Hurricanes in the game through an abysmal opening period.

That gave Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal a chance to put a dent in Montreal's drive for a playoff spot while keeping the Hurricanes' slim postseason hopes alive.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race

Staal scored 2:55 into the third period and Ward made 34 saves to lead Carolina to a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens on Wednesday.

Staal broke a tie with his 24th goal, beating Carey Price from the right edge of the crease. Sutter drew the Hurricanes even at 1 when he got credit for his 20th goal early in the second.

Ward stopped 11 shots in the first, 13 in the second, and 10 in the third to win his second straight start after missing 17 games because of a back injury.

"We were trying a whole new thing, to see if we could win a game without actually taking a stride in the first," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "It was a short experiment -- it wasn't going particularly well. We tried first gear in the second period, but all joking aside, we were pretty good in the third."

Carolina, which has won three of four, is 11th in the Eastern Conference with 75 points, seven behind Montreal.

"You never can say never and obviously the standings don't look like they're in our favor but mathematically we're not out of it and you've got to come to the rink and compete," Ward said. "At the end of the day this is what we get paid to do and you've got to wear that jersey with some pride and compete."

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored his first goal since Dec. 31 on a power play in the first as the Canadiens outshot Carolina 12-2 in the opening period, and 35-27 overall.

"We had so many scoring chances but we didn't score," center Tomas Plekanec said. "It should have been 2-0 or 3-0, and the game would have been completely different. After that we started pushing it, and it doesn't happen when you're pushing and pressing things.

Price stopped 25 shots for Montreal, 1-3-2 after its season-high six-game winning streak. The Canadiens are in a three-way tie for sixth in the East with Philadelphia and Boston with 82 points, just two points ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.

"We were ready to play, we all knew the importance of this game going into it," Price said. "For the majority of the game we played really well. We carried the game, we just didn't get rewarded for it."

Veteran referee Kerry Fraser called his final regular-season game in Montreal, though it was his partner, Dean Morton, who was front and center on a pair of significant rulings.

Morton immediately waved off an apparent goal by Carolina's Sergei Samsonov 5:58 in after former Canadiens right wing Tom Kostopoulos bowled over Price.

Kostopoulos was sent off for goalie interference on the play and Montreal found itself with a 5-on-3 advantage for 40 seconds when Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison was called for hooking Brian Gionta on a partial breakaway that Ward thwarted with a sprawling stop at 7:18.

Carolina killed off the rest of Kostopoulos' penalty before Bergeron drove a slap shot from the point past Ward for his 11th goal at 8:04.

Sutter got credit for drawing the Hurricanes even 3:44 into the second. Morton initially waved off the goal but a video review overturned his ruling. Price stopped Sutter's initial shot -- Carolina's third of the game -- but Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik slid into the rebound and pushed the puck across the goal line before the net was dislodged.

"Hammer was just doing what he needed to do, he was trying to help me out," Price said. "I make a save and it just happens."

Notes

  • Canadian Olympic medalists Alexandre Bilodeau and Jennifer Heil were greeted by standing ovations when they were introduced before the game. Bilodeau won Canada's first Olympic gold medal on home soil when he claimed the men's moguls title in Vancouver. Heil was second in the women's moguls after claiming gold in the event four years earlier in Turin.
  • Canadiens RW Sergei Kostitsyn left the game after his first shift of the second period because of a lower-body injury. He did not return.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Eric Staal takes three shots on goal and gets one the 'Canes need by Carey Price. (Getty Images)
Eric Staal takes three shots on goal and gets one the 'Canes need by Carey Price. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Carolina  (33-35-9) «0112
Montreal (37-32-8)1001
Three Stars
C. Ward
CAR


Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .971
B. Sutter
CAR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
C. Price
MON


Saves: 25
Save Pct.: .926
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
08:04Power Play - Marc-Andre Bergeron (11), Slap Shot. Assist: Gomez, Gionta
2ND PERIOD
03:44Brandon Sutter (20), Backhand Shot. Assist: LaRose, Jokinen
3RD PERIOD
02:55Eric Staal (24), Wrist Shot. Assist: Cole, Whitney
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:58Kostopoulos, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
07:18Harrison, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
10:08O'Byrne, 2 min, Tripping
15:06Staal, 2 min, Roughing
15:06Markov, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
38.0Cammalleri, 2 min, Boarding
06:04Cole, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Carolina281727
Montreal12131035
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Cam Ward59:54341
Carey Price59:05252
Game Information
Attendance - 21273
Referees - Kerry Fraser, Dean Morton
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Mark Pare
 
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