Analysis from Montreal
→ A week after defeating the Montreal Canadiens by a goal in Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes traveled to Montreal and were edged by a goal by the Habs, 2-1, as the Canes saw their season-long, five-game winning streak come to an end.
"I thought we did a lot of good things and made a lot of great plays but couldn't quite get over that hump of getting it into the net," Jordan Staal said. "If we consistently play that way, we're going to be in a lot of games. We were in this one tonight but came up a little short."
Video: CAR Recap: Hurricanes collect one goal in tight loss
→ Through two periods, the Hurricanes were rolling four lines and controlling play 5-on-5. Especially in the second period, in essentially the complete opposite of what happened in Raleigh a week ago, the Canes limited the Habs scoring chances to next to nothing in the middle frame.
"In the second period, we were dominating," said Elias Lindholm, who scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes. "We were heavy down low, making plays and had a lot of chances. If we played like that against the best team in the league, we'll be fine. We had a good game here and deserved at least one point."
"We didn't give them really anything," Staal said. "I felt like we played in their end the whole time. We did a lot of good things."
"I think it started in the circle. We had the puck a lot in the second period. We won nine out of 13 faceoffs, so we had the puck a lot," head coach Bill Peters said. "That led to some O-zone time, and I thought we did a good job down low hanging onto pucks and spending some time down there."
This was a game that felt like whoever scored next to break the 1-1 tie would ultimately come away with two points. Indeed, just 14 seconds into the third period, Max Pacioretty tucked one in the far post, and the Canadiens skated away victorious.
The Canes weren't without their chances, though. They had two power play opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the game.
"That's a great opportunity to get it squared up, and we ended up with one shot. Not enough," Peters said. "I think we needed a little more traffic and a few more guys digging in in the blue paint in the offensive zone. That would have been a little bit more appealing to the coach."
→ Cam Ward did his best to keep his team within striking distance in the third period when the Habs turned up the heat. On the power play, he gloved down a Shea Weber point shot. Later, he slid across to deny Alex Galchenyuk's opportunity on an odd-man rush. Ward totaled 20 saves in the game and suffered just his second regulation loss in the month of November.
Video: CAR@MTL: Ward makes great sprawling save on rush
"Wardo played good today again," Lindholm said. "We wanted at least one point there and deserved at least one point."
"He's been outstanding. … Defensively, I thought we were fine. The penalty kill was good," Peters said. "We needed a big save there on the shot from Weber, and we got it."
→ This morning, Peters said his team wouldn't beat Habs goaltender Carey Price without screens and traffic in front.
But Lindholm's shot in the first period? Straight ridiculous. Streaking down the near wing, Lindholm's quick snapper was an absolute laser destined for the far top corner, a shot that likely no goaltender was going to be able to stop. That goal, Lindholm's second of the season and his fourth point in as many games, gave the Hurricanes an early 1-0 road lead.
Video: CAR@MTL: Lindholm puts a gorgeous wrister past Price
"That was a lucky shot. It was on edge there and was rolling when I caught it," Lindholm said. "I just tried to get it on net, and it went in. You don't get those shots often, so I just tried to get it on net."
Price, who has lost just one game in regulation this season, made 31 saves.
→ The Canadiens answered the Canes back quickly in the first period when Andrew Shaw won a battle with Matt Tennyson in front of the net and slid the puck past Cam Ward.
"We can be better. Our power play can be better, we can be at the net, we can be harder at both nets - their net and our net," Peters said. "There are some things we did well, and there are some things we can improve on moving forward."
→ The Hurricanes' three-game Canadian road swing wraps up in Ottawa on Saturday. That's the first half of a back-to-back set, as the Canes then return to Raleigh to host the Florida Panthers on Sunday evening.
"That's how we want to play: be fast, be heavy down low and make plays. When we play like that, it's hard to handle us," Lindholm said. "We're one of the fastest teams in the league when we play like that, so we need to keep building from this and move on."
"When we come ready to go playing like that, holding onto the puck, making plays, playing in their end, doing a lot of the things we did tonight, things are going to go well for us," Staal said.