In a somewhat bizarre game where 11 penalties were called against the Habs in just the first two periods, Carolina took advantage of the practice time and scored three goals while on the powerplay and defeated Montreal, 3-2.
Eric Staal scored the first two goals of the game, both in the opening period. The first came on a perfect pass from Sergei Samsonov, who faked a shot and found Staal all alone at the doorstep. Joe Corvo created the opportunity when he made a nice play holding the puck in the zone. He was then able to scoot it over to Justin Williams who found Samsonov streaking in from the side.
With the point, Williams continued his "point a game" career streak against Montreal.
Later in the period, Joni Pitkanen stole the puck on an attempted clear and skated it in toward the crease. He found Staal, who was once again near the front of the net. The puck actually bounced in the goal off of the center's skate, but there was no kicking motion so the goal counted.
Early in the second period, Tim Conboy made an ill-advised play and lost the puck to Guillaume Latendresse who had a breakaway coming back to the Carolina zone. Joe Corvo tried to hinder the skater with a slash, but the Montreal forward was awarded a penalty shot. Latendresse buried the chance, giving the Habs new-found life.
Cam Ward remarked after the game that it was a perfect shot, it whizzed right by his ear.
Just about a minute later, the much maligned Alexei Kovalev ripped in a shot right off a faceoff, to tie the score. It was the first goal in 19 games for the alternate captain. The tally was the fourth shorthanded goal the Hurricanes allowed this season.
Many fans might have been thinking, "here we go again". The Hurricanes have not been very good at holding a lead in recent games, but at the seven minute mark while they were on a 5-on-3 advantage, Joe Corvo rifled in the eventual game winner. Staal was in front of the net for this score as well.
Montreal could not catch a break all night as later in the period, the Habs had a goal disallowed because it was hit in with a high stick.
The third period went back and forth and Kovalev had a nice chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Cam Ward was equal to the task and the Canes held on to win.
The Canes showed good energy throughout the game and even though the powerplay looked sloppy at times, they were able to score enough to win. They were probably pleased that they caught a couple of breaks for a change, as well.
Joe Corvo scored the game winning goal, led the team with over 30 minutes of ice time, and was named the number one star. Below is a video of his post-game interview.
The media was surprised when Ron Francis showed up for the post-game press conference, usually reserved for the head coach. Are the Hurricanes sending a message? Here is a video of his first ever post-game press conference as a coach.