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Montréal
Canadiens
42-34-6
Carolina
Hurricanes
40-34-8

game recap

Hurricanes 4, Canadiens 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Hurricanes 4, Canadiens 2
Montréal Canadiens 2, Carolina Hurricanes 4

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -After three losses in four games, Peter Laviolette talked with his Carolina Hurricanes players in what he called a "regrouping" meeting. The message was simple: play hard and remember to have fun.

It was apparently something the defending Stanley Cup champions needed to hear.

Justin Williams and Eric Belanger scored less than a minute apart in the third period to lead the Hurricanes past the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Thursday night, a strong overall performance that looked a lot more like something from last year's team instead of the one that has stumbled occasionally through its title defense.

Erik Cole added a pair of goals off his own rebounds for the Hurricanes, who finished with a season-high 48 shots to keep steady pressure on Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet. Cam Ward had 25 saves on the other end.

"We're a real good hockey team and there's a lot of expectation that goes with winning the Stanley Cup," Laviolette said. "But I think every once in a while you've got to step back and just enjoy the game. Enjoy each other. Play hard - trust me that was in the message - but while playing hard, enjoy it and have fun.

"I thought we did that today. Guys looked loose. They looked relaxed and they played extremely hard."

The win came against a Montreal team that beat Carolina here 4-0 on Nov. 2 and had won four of its past five games. Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens, while Huet finished with 44 saves despite being under relentless pressure.

Cole led that Hurricanes surge, finishing with 11 shots in addition to those first- and second- period scores.

"It just seemed like every time we came across the line with the puck," Cole said, "things were opening up for us."

The Hurricanes surpassed their previous season high of 40 shots - set three times - yet still found themselves in a 2-2 game before finally pushing ahead with the goals from Williams and Belanger.

"We knew they were a team that has been having some struggles lately," Canadiens defenseman Michael Komisarek said. "The longer you let a team like that play, the more confidence they get and the more they believe in themselves. We had some chances early on in the first and we could have buried them. We can't allow 48 shots and expect to win."

Williams put Carolina ahead to stay when he took a pass from Ray Whitney and flipped a backhand shot by Huet from near the right circle at 12:27 of the third. Then, after a battle along the boards in the Montreal zone, Belanger corralled the puck and flipped a shot by Huet for a 4-2 lead at 13:13.

The Canadiens struck first when Ryder took a short pass from Guillaume Latendresse and beat Ward from the right side of the crease midway through the first period.

But Cole evened the score late in the period when he beat Radek Bonk for a shot on Huet on the left side, then got to the loose rebound at the top of the crease and pushed it through heavy traffic at 16:24.

Cole followed with another rebound score, beginning with a push up ice by Scott Walker. He left the puck to the trailing Cole, who fired a shot from outside the right circle. Huet made the stop, but the puck bounced all the way back out to Cole, whose second shot from the circle slipped by Huet on the stick side at 8:23 of the second.

Plekanec scored late in the period to tie it before the Hurricanes broke through in the third.

"We were trying not to be denied tonight," Williams said. "I thought for the majority of the game we controlled the play and we really took it to them in the offensive zone."

Notes: Glen Wesley assisted on Cole's goal for his third point of the season. ... Ryder's goal was his sixth of the season. ... The Hurricanes face Boston at home on Saturday before starting a four-game road trip. ... The Canadiens fell to 10-3-3 when being outshot by an opponent. ... Huet hadn't lost since a 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Nov. 4.

scoring summary
1st Period
10:42
MTL
Michael Ryder (6) ASST: Guillaume Latendresse (3), Saku Koivu (15)
1 - 0 MTL
16:24
CAR
Erik Cole (9) ASST: Glen Wesley (3)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
08:23
CAR
Erik Cole (10) ASST: Scott Walker (10), Bret Hedican (7)
2 - 1 CAR
15:23
MTL
Tomas Plekanec (3) ASST: Sergei Samsonov (8), Mark Streit (7)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
12:27
CAR
Justin Williams (10) ASST: Ray Whitney (20), Rod Brind'Amour (24)
3 - 2 CAR
13:13
CAR
Eric Belanger (6) ASST: Chad LaRose (7)
4 - 2 CAR
penalty summary
1st Period
16:49
MTL
Craig Rivet  Hooking against  Andrew Ladd
17:36
CAR
Eric Staal  Hooking against  Michael Ryder
2nd Period
05:55
CAR
Andrew Ladd  Holding against  Saku Koivu
3rd Period
03:42
MTL
Sheldon Souray  Holding against  Erik Cole
07:12
MTL
Mike Komisarek  Holding against  Craig Adams
09:05
MTL
Sheldon Souray  Cross checking against  Justin Williams
19:32
CAR
Justin Williams  Holding against  Michael Ryder
goalie stats
Cristobal Huet
SA: 48TOI: 59:05
Saves: 44EV: 32 - 36
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 10
SV%: .917SH: 2 - 2
Cam Ward
SA: 27TOI: 60:00
Saves: 25EV: 19 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .926SH: 1 - 1