for this game

Huet records first shutout of season as Canadiens roll

Nov 3, 2006 - 2:43 AM RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Cristobal Huet ended a six-month wait to help the Montreal Canadiens get some revenge.

Huet made 31 saves and defenseman Mike Komisarek and captain Saku Koivu scored to lead the Canadiens to their third win in four games, a 4-0 triumph over the defending champion Carolina Hurricanes.

Despite winning the Roger Crozier Award for best save percentage (.925) last season, Huet was in net as Montreal wasted a two games to none lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Hurricanes. The Canadiens scored just five goals in losing their final four contests.

"They kicked our (tail) four times in a row in the first round," Koivu said. "That was very disappointing for us to be up 2-0 in the games and then to lose four straight. When we came here, we knew what to expect."

Huet stopped 15 shots in the first period and eight in each of the final two sessions for his first shutout of the season and 12th of his career. He raised his record to 3-1-2 on the season.

"It's a good standard to start the year," Huet said. "If we can beat them, it'll let them know that it's not going to be like last year, maybe. But there is no revenge or anything like that. We're just happy to beat a very good team."

"We were able to survive the first few shifts," Koivu said. "Huet made some big saves to keep us in the game. And then in the second period, I thought we started skating and we were able to keep the puck deep in their end."

The Canadiens opened the scoring with their fifth shorthanded goal with 9:15 left in the second period.

Komisarek skated in along the right boards and fired a bad-angle shot that deflected off Hurricanes left wing Erik Cole and past netminder Cam Ward.

"I just took it wide," Komisarek said. "One of their guys ... came flying at me and I went around and just tried to get the puck to the net. I was lucky it went in."

Montreal doubled the margin just 2:44 later by taking advantage of Eric Belanger's hooking penalty. Blue-liner Andrei Markov fed Koivu, who spun past defenseman Glen Wesley and found an opening between Ward's pads.

"Getting down 2-0 was frustrating when you have plenty of chances and plenty of power plays," Carolina left wing Ray Whitney said. "We had a 5-on-3 and didn't score and they get a guy out of the box and score shorthanded. That was frustrating. Then you have to press."

Mike Johnson gave the Canadiens some additional breathing room with 6:53 left when he took Radek Bonk's centering pass in front, deked Ward and slipped the puck by his left pad for his fourth tally and a 3-0 lead.

"Once they got the third (goal), it sapped the wind out of us," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We were down in their end doing our thing and it didn't happen. We outchanced them and outshot them. We were skating and making them take penalties and we couldn't get it done on specialty teams."

Nearly two minutes later, Tomas Plekanec stole the puck from Whitney and scored on a shorthanded breakaway when he lifted a backhander just under the crossbar.

"They played last night so we knew the longer we stayed in the game, that they were going to tire," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "They play three lines and four defensemen and they kind of weaken as the game goes, so that was our strategy to try to come out with a lead or tie in the first period and keep working as the game went."

The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Ward stopped 23 shots and fell to 6-5-1 for the Hurricanes.

"We're utilizing a lot of effort for every win," Laviolette said. "We played hard in Atlanta and we didn't play them in the playoffs. But if you don't bring your best game, you're not going to win."






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