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Staal Leads The Way: Hurricanes 5, Canadiens 3

Team Captain Eric Staal had two goals and an assist while leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night at the Belle Centre. The Canes jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but allowed three straight goals to the Habs in the second period before scoring three in a row themselves in the third to close out the home team.

Jiri Tlusty started things off and stretched his scoring streak to five games as he tipped in a Bryan Allen shot just 3:09 into the game. Then to start off the second period, the Canes scored their first powerplay goal in eight games with some perfect passing when Jussi Jokinen fed the puck to Jeff Skinner, who then found Jaroslav Spacek skating in alone behind the defense. It was Tlusty's 13th and Spacek's 2nd of the season.

But the rest of the second period was all Montreal.

Within a six minute span later in the period, the home team scored three times to take the lead, two of them powerplay tallies. Former Cane Erik Cole, scored one of those goals with a laser shot from the slot area that went in off the pipes.

Facing a 3-2 deficit in the third period, the Canes stepped up the pressure and Staal took over the game.

First, the Captain tied the score when he took the puck in alone around Tomas Kaberle shorthanded. After hitting the post with another shot on a subsequent powerplay, he created yet another play with a power move toward the net. The puck ended up bouncing out to Jamie McBain and the defenseman jumped on it, to put the Canes up 4-3.

Staal also had two chances at an empty net near the end of the game. With the first chance, he tried to feed the puck to linemate Jiri Tlusty, but the play was broken up. He made no mistake with his second chance though and buried his shot from near center ice to put the game away.

The team will return home and take on the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.

Game Notes:

  • Staal had one of his best plus/minus nights of the season as well and finished at +3. He led the team with 23:36 of ice time and also had a team high six shots on goal.
  • Tuomo Ruutu left the game very early with only 1:45 of ice time. The team released info that he had an upper body injury.
  • The team had 18 hits, led by Justin Faulk and Patrick Dwyer with three each.
  • As usual, Bryan Allen led the way with four blocked shots. The team had 21 for the night.

For post game interviews, check out Canes