31 SOG
29 SOG

Carolina tops Montreal 2-1 in shootout

Kurt Dusterberg  - Correspondent | Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 9:50 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It took 81 games, but the Carolina Hurricanes finally solved the shootout.

After going winless in six tries this season, Carolina relied on Eric Staal to score the only goal of the shootout, lifting the Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at PNC Arena.

"The way he played the second half of the season, it was great to see him be the final shooter and score the final goal," said Carolina coach Kirk Muller.

Cam Ward stopped 28 shots through 65 minutes and denied Lars Eller, David Desharnais and Erik Cole in the extra session. Ward reached the 30-win plateau (30-23-13) for the fifth time in his career, and he took some pleasure solving the shootout.

"I felt like I was moving really well and I was comfortable," Ward said. "The thing about the shootout is you've got to be able to relax. I felt like I was more patient than in previous shootouts. It pays off. Sometimes the less you try, the better result you get."

Like most of his teammates, Ward was taking the long view after the game, rather than dwelling on the win. Although the Hurricanes never got back into the playoff chase after an 8-17-4 start, they did improve in the second half of the season.

"It doesn't make it any easier," Ward said. "I think everyone in here is still disappointed that we're not making the playoffs. It's important that you finish the season strong. We've done a lot of good things and made a lot of strides since Muller has taken over. You don't want to take your foot off the gas just because we're out of the playoffs."

Staal, the Hurricanes captain, was also looking ahead after the final home game of the season.

"I think we're going in the right direction as a group and an organization," he said. "If we can continue to grow as a group and add some pieces, we'll be excited about coming into training camp and doing what Kirk asks us to do."

The game had the feel of two teams who were eliminated from playoff contention. Each team took seven minor penalties but looked mostly sluggish with the man advantage. The Hurricanes did score on the power play when Chad LaRose put his own rebound past Peter Budaj in the second period, but the Hurricanes managed just seven shots in 11:02 of power-play time, while the Habs registered five in 11:45.

Montreal had to summon a little extra energy, playing on consecutive nights after a 5-2 home win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. The Canadiens' lone goal came early in the second period, as Blake Geoffrion opened the scoring with a wraparound.

"We are pleased with the fact that nobody quit and it was a great effort on many guys' parts," said Montreal coach Randy Cunneyworth. Overall, we did play a good game with solid effort."

Cunneyworth also saluted Carolina's penalty kill, which defended a 5-on- three late in the third period.

"You have to give credit where credit is due, and that penalty kill was excellent," he said. "Their goaltender was good as well."

Muller, who spent the past five seasons as a Montreal assistant, improved his head coaching record to 25-19-12. The Hurricanes have responded well to his methods, which has left a good feeling around the organization and the Carolina fan base. But the coach senses the same thing as Staal — that everybody is longing for more from the Hurricanes.

"It's an emotion change, of going so hard since the All-Star break," Muller said. "Our guys really played hard and I'm proud of them. The crowd is anxious to see playoff hockey. They supported the team right to the last game here tonight. Hopefully we're in a different situation this time next year."
MTL ()
CAR ()
Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
04:32MTL Blake Geoffrion (2) Wrap-around - ASST: Mike Blunden (2), Josh Gorges (13) 1 - 0 MTL
10:02CAR PPG - Chad LaRose (19) Wrist shot - ASST: Jamie McBain (19), Joni Pitkanen (12) 1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
OT Period
1MTLLars Eller - Save
2CARJeff Skinner - Save
3MTLDavid Desharnais - Save
4CARJussi Jokinen - Missed
5MTLErik Cole - Missed
6CAREric Staal - Goal
Shootout Summary
RNDMontréal CanadiensCarolina Hurricanes
1Lars Eller
Jeff Skinner
2David Desharnais
Jussi Jokinen
3Erik Cole
Eric Staal
Three Stars of the Game
Cam Ward
SA: 31TOI: 65:00
GA: 1EV: 23-24
PIM: 0PP: 6-6
SV%: .968SH: 1-1
Eric Staal
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 0PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 26:17
Chad LaRose
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 4
+/-: 0TOI: 16:43
Penalty Summary
1st Period
00:32MTL P.K. Subban  Cross checking against  Eric Staal
04:14CAR Derek Joslin  Roughing against  Gabriel Dumont
08:11CAR Eric Staal  Tripping against  Chris Campoli
10:28MTL Blake Geoffrion  Tripping against  Jamie McBain
15:36CAR Joni Pitkanen  Hi-sticking against  Erik Cole
2nd Period
00:42CAR Chad LaRose  Hooking against  David Desharnais
09:00MTL Aaron Palushaj  Too many men/ice - bench
14:32MTL Aaron Palushaj  Roughing against  Jamie McBain
3rd Period
07:45MTL P.K. Subban  Holding against  Patrick Dwyer
09:50MTL P.K. Subban  Tripping against  Jaroslav Spacek
16:58CAR Jaroslav Spacek  Holding against  Chris Campoli
17:20MTL Andrei Markov  Hooking against  Eric Staal
17:47CAR Chad LaRose  Tripping against  Erik Cole
19:32CAR Tim Gleason  Tripping against  David Desharnais
OT Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/71/6
Faceoff Wins2430
Blocked Shots1115
Penalty Minutes1414
14T. PlekanecC0003022:13
17C. CampoliD0002023:10
22T. KaberleD0005019:20
25B. StaubitzR000107:00
26J. GorgesD0110025:59
27R. BourqueR0001020:19
37G. DumontC000006:07
45M. BlundenR0111013:39
51D. DesharnaisC0002022:18
57B. GeoffrionC1012210:10
60A. PalushajR000027:18
62F. St-DenisD0000019:04
67M. PaciorettyL0003021:19
71L. LeblancC0001012:18
72E. ColeL0003021:38
76P. SubbanD0011620:15
79A. MarkovD0003219:53
81L. EllerC0013015:02
30P. Budaj2829.96664:56
4J. McBainD0100020:22
5B. AllenD00-11014:59
6T. GleasonD0000221:28
8J. SpacekD0001211:25
12E. StaalC0003226:17
13A. StewartR000005:04
15T. RuutuR0002017:35
16B. SutterC00-12019:28
19J. TlustyL0002019:36
25J. PitkanenD0101225:02
27D. JoslinD000025:31
28J. FaulkD0002021:55
36J. JokinenL0003019:52
37T. BrentC0001011:19
39P. DwyerR00-12013:40
44J. HarrisonD00-11014:10
53J. SkinnerL00-13021:34
59C. LaRoseR1005416:43
30C. Ward3031.96865:00