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Staal lifts Hurricanes over Canadiens

Feb 14, 2012 - 4:03 AM Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Eric Staal netted two goals and added an assist, leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Jamie McBain had a goal and an assist, while Jiri Tlusty and Jaroslav Spacek scored for the Hurricanes, who got 30 saves from Cam Ward to help snap a two- game skid.

Tomas Plekanec, Erik Cole and David Desharnais scored and Carey Price made 30 saves in defeat for the Canadiens, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Trailing, 3-2 after two periods, Carolina dominated the third stanza, scoring three unanswered goals to steal the victory.

The Hurricanes' first goal of the frame came while shorthanded at 3:15 as a result of a spectacular individual effort by Staal.

Staal picked up the puck in the neutral zone and gained the offensive blue line with speed. He drove hard to the net on his backhand and cut to his forehand before poking the puck through the legs of Price.

"That penalty kill was big, anytime you get offensive chances the other way, you make sure you cash in," Staal said. "I got a step on him and it just squeezed through Carey. We had adjusted in the third, got more aggressive and did a better job. A shorthanded goal can build some momentum and we continued on the attack and turned our power play around."

Carolina took the lead for good with another special teams goal -- this one on the power play at 8:50 of the third period when Staal ripped a quick shot on net from the right circle that was kicked out by Price, but McBain pounced on a big rebound in the slot and ripped it home.

Staal added an empty-netter with 36 seconds left to secure the win.

Carolina opened the scoring just 3:09 into the first period when Tlusty tipped one past Price off a shot from the left point by Bryan Allen to give the Canes the early lead.

Carolina struck again at 9:41 of the second period when Jeff Skinner fired a shot from the right circle that pinballed to Spacek to the left of the net, and the big defenseman put it past Price to make it 2-0. Montreal responded with the next three goals to lead 3-2 heading into the third period.

Plekanec got the Canadiens on the board at 11:53 of the second period when he picked up a loose disc in the neutral zone and raced up the right wing. He moved to the slot with speed and ripped a wrister past Ward.

Cole found the back of the net at 15:57 when he stepped around a penalty killer into the slot and put a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Ward to make it 2-2, and Desharnais scored less than two minutes later when he put home a rebound off the stick of P.K. Subban to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead.

"We kept pushing, we had chances at the end to tie it up, but when you play comeback hockey the whole game, it takes a toll on you," Canadiens forward Mathieu Darche said. "We gained momentum in the second, and our penalty kill has been giving us momentum all year long, but tonight we didn't get the job done. They won the special teams battle tonight, that's why we're on the losing end."

Game Notes

Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury...Tlusty extended his point-streak to five consecutive games...Ward improved to 13-7-3 in 23 career games against the Canadiens...Both teams went 2-for-5 with the man advantage.