Michael Ryder opened the scoring at 10:42 into the first period, the goal was only Ryder’s second in fourteen games. Guillaume Latendresse and Saku Koivu picked up assists on the goal. Five minutes later Alex Kovalev made a beautiful move and beat Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward but was thwarted by the crossbar, later in that same shift Erik Cole the Hurricanes resident Habs killer out skated Radek Bonk and potted his own rebound to tie the score.
Guillaume Latendresse was sent in on a breakaway early in the first period and made a stellar move to his back hand but as Kovalev did before him, Latendresse struck red iron. Erik Cole would earn the lead for the Hurricanes once again scoring on his own rebound. Carolina dominated much of the second period but in the final five minutes Tomas Plekanec launched a slap shot past Ward equalizing the score.
All year long the third period has been the Canadiens bread and butter but this night was a different story. In the first three minutes two fairly obvious obstruction interference penalty’s went uncalled against the Hurricanes only to see Sheldon Souray whistled for a questionable holding call just seconds later. Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau looked less than pleased at the lack of consistency showed once again during NHL games. The Canadiens would take two more penalty’s in the following six minutes and had some remarkable efforts to kill them off, including a spectacular defensive play by Saku Koivu on Ray Whitney.
After the three penalty’s were killed the Hurricanes had piled up a major shot advantage which included nine on the power play and the Canadiens were run ragged. With a little less than eight minutes left the Hurricanes broke into the Canadiens zone and lost the puck to Craig Rivet, but Rivet coughed the puck right into the slot and the Wizard Ray Whitney set up Justin Williams for what turned out to be the game winning goal. Less than a minute later Eric Belanger took advantage of a lazy play by Alex Kovalev and beat an out of position Cristobal Huet for his sixth of the campaign.
1. Erik Cole- continues to burry the Habs scoring his 10th and 11th against the fabled Canadiens in just 15 regular season match-ups.
2. Ray Whitney- played over 20 minutes and set up the game winner.
3. Justin Williams- scored the game winning goal.
1. Craig Rivet had a +/- rating of -3 last night, the last time he did that was last year against these same Hurricanes. Rivet has had some rough games this year but this was by far his worst, forcing one to wonder, why was he on the ice only six seconds less then team leader Sheldon Souray?
2. Erik Cole had 11 shots on goal marking the first time he reached double digits in that column in his career.
3. Although the Canadiens have struggled against the Hurricanes in the past 2 season’s one Canadiens player who does not mind playing the Canes is Tomas Plekanec, the sophomore center has 4 goals and 1 assist against Carolina in 5 games.