RALEIGH - It was a high-flying, back-and-forth game, but the Hurricanes downed the Habs 4-3 in a shootout in the first game of the season on Thursday in Raleigh.
In an action-packed first following the Canes player introductions, the scoreless tie was broken with only 2:41 left in the period when Lucas Wallmark took advantage of some traffic in front of Carey Price to bury a rebound and make it 1-0.
The Habs ended the frame leading their hosts in shots 13-10. Price made nine saves in the period, and got a little help from the crossbar as well.
The Canes killed off the only penalty of the period, an interference call to Jordan Martinook, although Montreal managed two shots on goal with the man advantage.
The Hurricanes doubled their lead minutes into the second. With Jesperi Kotkaniemi serving in the box for a faceoff violation, Martin Necas redirected Dougie Hamilton's shot from the point past Price.
Montreal replied on the power play a few minutes later. Tomas Tatar intercepted a clearing attempt and wristed it past Hurricanes starter Petr Mrazek from the slot to reduce Carolina's lead back to one.
Video: MTL@CAR: Tatar trims deficit to 1 with solid PPG
Not long after, the Habs squared things up when Jesperi Kotkaniemi grabbed it in front of Mrazek and, after some patience and nifty stickwork, beat Mrazek to bring the score to 2-2. Jonathan Drouin - who brought the puck into the zone, recovered it, and passed it to Artturi Lehkonen before it got to Kotkaniemi - earned his 100th point as a Hab on the play with an assist.
Video: MTL@CAR: Kotkaniemi stick handles, snipes snap shot
The Habs took their first lead of the night with 3:24 left in the second. Nate Thompson drove the puck into the Hurricanes' zone and dished it to Paul Byron, who fed it cross-crease to Jordan Weal to complete the play.
Video: MTL@CAR: Byron, Weal combine for tally on the rush
After 40, the Canadiens were leading 3-2 in the score and 26-23 in shots.
In the third, with a delayed penalty, rookie Cale Fleury - making his NHL debut - accepted a pass and broke away. He put the moves on Mrazek, but the Czech netminder denied him his first career goal in the big leagues.
Erik Haula tied things up with 13:05 left in regulation.
With that, the game would need extra time to come to a decision and despite some sustained pressure by the Canadiens in the Hurricanes' end, the game was still tied after overtime.
In the shootout, Dougie Hamilton scored the lone goal for Carolina, while neither Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, nor Nick Suzuki could solve Mrazek.