Canadiens
Hurricanes
3 - 2 Final - OT
  for this game

Koivu leads Canadiens to season-opening victory

Oct 4, 2007 - 2:43 AM
By Joe Johnson PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- When the Montreal Canadiens needed him most, captain Saku Koivu came through.

Koivu scored two goals - including the winner in overtime and Cristobal Huet made 29 saves as the Canadiens edged the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, on Wednesday in the regular-season opener for both teams.

Koivu capitalized on Carolina defenseman Niclas Wallin's cross-checking penalty in the opening minute of overtime. The Finn took a feed from Chris Higgins and fired a snap shot from the slot, which found its way to the back of the net at 1:05 to give Montreal its third power-play goal of the night.

"I think, at this point, to get the first win, obviously, is important," Koivu said. "You build confidence with every win, and when you play a tough team like them, it is a good thing."

"We've got to try and stay out of the box as much as we can," Carolina's Erik Cole said. "You're not going to win games if you're giving teams multiple opportunities at the end of games."

Koivu helped Montreal snap a 1-1 tie midway through the third session on the power play, beating goaltender Cam Ward to the glove side. The captain took a feed from defenseman Andrei Markov and flicked a snap shot into the top corner of the net.

"Getting the first goal early in the season, it takes it away from your mind," Koivu said. "Obviously, it's easier to go from there."

It did not take long for the Hurricanes to answer, however. Defenseman Bret Hedican sent a blistering wrist shot from the top of the slot past Huet to tie the game at 2-2 with 7:12 remaining.

Huet was outstanding all night. After surrendering a power-play goal early in the contest, the French netminder denied Carolina until Hedican's late tally. Huet's night was highlighted by a brillant stick save in the opening period.

"I think, especially in the first 30 minutes of the game, they had some chances," Huet said. "We stayed patient for our good opportunities, and I think in the third period we took control of the game."

The Hurricanes capitalized on an early man advantage when Cole deflected Eric Staal's one-timer from above the right faceoff circle past Huet at 3:37 for a 1-0 edge. It was Cole's 13th goal in 18 career games against the Canadiens.

Montreal responded on the power play at 13:01 as blue-liner Mark Streit's slap shot found its way over the glove of Ward to even the contest at 1-1.

The Hurricanes squandered two 5-on-3 advantages in the first two periods and the Canadiens were unable to take advantage of a four-minute power play in the second after Ryan Bayda picked up a high-sticking double minor.

Ward stopped 37 shots for Carolina, which had won seven of its previous eight meetings with Montreal.

"It seemed like in the third period, we fell back on our heels a little bit until they scored that goal," Ward said. "After they scored, we started to get our legs again. They came out with a purpose in the third period, and it looked like they were a little more desperate at the beginning of the period. It's tough when you're on the penalty kill in overtime."

The setback marked the fifth consecutive season the Hurricanes have lost their season opener.

Markov notched a pair of assists for the Canadiens.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 1 3
    CAROLINA 1 0 1 0 2 FINAL IN OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIK COLE 1 (ERIC STAAL, SCOTT WALKER) 3:37
    MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 1 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    13:01
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ANDREI

    Oct 3 9:38 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    CAROLINA 2
    OT: MON - SAKU KOIVU 2 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MICHAEL RYDER) 1:05

    Oct 3 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    CAROLINA 2
    OT: MON - SAKU KOIVU 2 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MICHAEL RYDER) 1:05

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:37 PM
  • 149
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 67 roots (Overtime)

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 2
    CAROLINA 1 0 1 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIK COLE 1 (ERIC STAAL, SCOTT WALKER) 3:37
    MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 1 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    13:01
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ANDREI MARKOV) 9:31
    CAR - BRET HEDI

    Oct 3 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    CAROLINA 2
    3RD PRD: CAR - BRET HEDICAN 1 (JUSTIN WILLIAMS, ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 12:38

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:21 PM
  • 82
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:21 PM
  • 25
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:21 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    CAROLINA 1
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ANDREI MARKOV) 9:31

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 9:14 PM
  • 10
    roots
    tehawkins Added 5 roots

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1
    CAROLINA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIK COLE 1 (ERIC STAAL, SCOTT WALKER) 3:37
    MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 1 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    13:01
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON

    Oct 3 8:39 PM
  • 5
    roots
    jemurray Added 5 roots

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 1
    CAROLINA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIC STAAL 1 (SCOTT WALKER, FRANTISEK KABERLE)
    3:37
    MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 1 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    13:01
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 8

    Oct 3 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 1 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    13:01

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 7:36 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIC STAAL 1 (SCOTT WALKER, FRANTISEK KABERLE)
    3:37

    Canadiens vs. HurricanesOct 3 7:18 PM