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Habs use power play to down Hurricanes

Dec 24, 2010 - 5:29 AM
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexandre Picard scored during an extended power play late in the second period, helping Montreal to a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Scott Gomez added a goal and an assist, while Jaroslav Spacek tallied a pair of helpers for the Canadiens, who won for the first time during a season-long, seven-game road trip. Montreal had lost five of its previous six, including the first two of its swing, but received 22 saves from Carey Price on Thursday.

Erik Cole scored for Carolina, but his major penalty opened the door for the Canadiens to go in front in the second, when all five of the goals were scored. Chad LaRose also lit the lamp, but his tripping penalty late in the third stopped any momentum the Hurricanes built trying for the equalizer.

Cam Ward made 26 saves for Carolina, which has lost two straight following a four-game win streak.

Cole provided Carolina with a 2-1 edge at 15:17 when he poked in his own rebound, shortly after the Hurricanes won a right circle offensive zone faceoff.

Cole, though, was sent off for a five-minute major penalty for boarding Spacek, forcing the Montreal defenseman to the ice. Kostitsyn tied the game nearly 1 1/2 minutes after the extended man-advantage started, receiving a right side pass from Tomas Plekanec for a tip-in directly in front of the net.

Picard's go-ahead goal came just 2:03 later, with barely under a minute left in the period as his shot from the high slot found its way through traffic and by a screened Ward.

"It was a terrible play on my part," Cole said of the penalty. "We're not even supposed to be finishing our hits. At least I was able to stay in the game and try and make up for it. There's no excuse."

Cole had a chance to tie the game inside three minutes left in regulation. The puck bounced in the low slot to Cole, who was all alone, but his spin-around shot was directed away by the pads of Price.

Eric Staal's opportunity from the right side of the net was denied nearly 20 seconds later.

LaRose pulled down Brian Gionta, and the two-minute tripping penalty with 2:13 left all but sealed Carolina's fate. Despite pulling Ward for an extra attacker, the Hurricanes were unable to generate pressure on the Canadiens.

The Hurricanes broke on top 62 seconds into the second on LaRose's short- handed tally. With Jay Harrison in the penalty box for tripping, Carolina took advantage of a turnover. Roman Hamrlik lost control of the puck along the left boards and Ryan Carter skated through the circle to the slot before finding LaRose with a short pass. LaRose then notched his seventh goal of the season with a shot from the slot.

Montreal evened the game 3:45 later when Gomez split defenders and skated to the inside edge of the left circle before firing the puck glove side past Ward.

Game Notes

Ward played in his 300th NHL game...Staal collected his 18th assist of the season and is one helper shy of matching Andrew Cassels (254) for fourth in franchise history in assists...Gomez has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in his last five games.