For the second time in three games, the Carolina Hurricanes surrendered the first goal of the game. As with last Saturday’s win over the Capitals, though, they didn’t let it get them down, and the Canes came from behind to knock off the conference-leading Montreal Canadiens in front of 12,101 at PNC Arena with a 3-2 win.
The teams traded early chances, with former Hurricane Chris Terry nearly scoring on his first two shifts, the second of which saw him hit the crossbar behind Cam Ward. At the other end, Jeff Skinner had two cracks at an open net above Canadiens goalie Al Montoya’s right pad, but he was unable to elevate the puck and break the ice. Shots in the scoreless first period were 9-4 in favor of Montreal.
Jeff Petry gave the Canadiens the lead at 14:19 of the second period on a disputed play. Noah Hanifin and Habs winger Daniel Carr were tangled at the top of the crease, and both players fell into Ward, knocking him over and giving Petry an empty net to shoot at. Bill Peters challenged the call for goaltender interference, but the Toronto war room ruled that the contact on Ward was not initiated by the attacking player and the goal stood.
The goal snapped a 142:17 shutout streak for Cam Ward that stretched back to the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Capitals. Outshot 21-8 through two periods, Peters made changes at the second intermission, swapping Skinner for Teuvo Teravainen on the top two lines.
The changes paid off.
3:12 into the third period, Skinner tipped a Ron Hainsey point shot with his skate that took a bizarre angle and somehow found its way past Montoya to tie the game. The goal, Skinner’s team-leading seventh of the season, was the 150th of his NHL career. The goal was reviewed for a kicked puck, but the replay showed that while Skinner’s skate changed the puck’s direction, he did not kick the puck into the net.
Four minutes later, Teravainen gave the Canes their first lead at 7:43 on yet another reviewed goal. This time, it was a bunt out of midair of another Hainsey shot that was reviewed and quickly confirmed. Teravainen did not touch the puck with a high stick, and the Canes had the lead.
On their next shift, Elias Lindholm held off two Habs defenders in front of the benches and fed a centering pass to Rask, who fired through a two-man screen in front of Montoya at 9:02 to give the Canes a two-goal lead.
The Habs clawed one back at 15:29 on a deflection. Andrew Shaw left a drop pass for Andrei Markov and rushed to the front of the net, in perfect position to redirect Markov’s pass past Ward. A minute later, Brendan Gallagher nearly tied the game again but his shot hit the post to the right of Ward as the Habs came in waves.
The Canes held off and, more importantly, played keepaway for a good part of the final two minutes, Aho nearly scoring alone in front of Montoya with 1:25 to go. Montoya wasn’t pulled until there was just over a minute left, never having the chance to get out of the crease with the Canes desperately forechecking to keep the puck away from the Habs.
With 11.4 seconds left, Shaw was hit with a trio of penalties to seal the game for the Canes, taking a hooking penalty that was then followed by a mouthing-off to referee Graham Skilliter, earning him two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten-minute misconduct.
Now on a three-game winning streak, the Canes are 3-1 on the current homestand and have not only left last place, but they’re within four points of the surging Blue Jackets for a wild-card playoff spot.
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