The Carolina Hurricanes were shutout for the third time this season as Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore posted 23 saves in a 3-0 victory at the Molson Centre. Arturs Irbe was strong in net for the Hurricanes notching 27 saves on 28 shots faced to keep the Hurricanes in the game. The Canadiens totaled two empty net goals in a 10 second span late in the third period to seal the game after Turner Stevenson broke a scoreless tie at 13:56 of the final period.
The Hurricanes had the better of early play as Kent Manderville was denied twice by Theodore minutes apart. On the first attempt, Manderville broke in alone on Theodore but the goaltender cut down the angle and Manderville was forced to abort the shot. Minutes later, Manderville fired wide on a breakaway. After a scoreless second period, the Canadiens turned up the pressure midway through the third. Artus Irbe denied Martin Rucinsky from just outside the crease and Craig Darby was wide on an odd-man rush.
Stevenson then cashed in on a hustle play to score the game's first goal. Stevenson wrested the puck free from a scrum in the right corner and drove toward Irbe. As the goaltender came out to poke the puck free, Stevenson shoveled a backhander between the pads of Irbe for a 1-0 lead with 6:04 to go. Theodore preserved the shutout by getting a left pad on Robert Kron's slap shot with 2:55 remaining.
"He was at the top of his game," Hurricanes right wing Sami Kapanen said. "Our game plan was to take the shots and get on the rebounds. Unfortunately, most of the game was played in the neutral zone." After Carolina pulled Irbe, who finished with 27 saves, Brunet and Brisebois scored into the vacated net 10 seconds apart.
Carolina 0 0 0 0Montreal 0 0 3 3FIRST PERIOD Scoring: None. Penalties: Oneill, Car (elbowing), 5:55; Gelinas, Car (tripping), 13:27.SECOND PERIOD Scoring: None. Penalties: Stevenson, Mon (roughing), 5:43; Pratt, Car served by Kovalenko (cross checking, misconduct), 8:23; Rivet, Mon (holding), 12:06.THIRD PERIOD Scoring: 1, Montreal, Stevenson 2 (J Lind), 13:56. 2, Montreal, Brunet 6 (empty net) (T Linden), 19:20. 3, Montreal, Brisebois 4 (empty net) (unassisted), 19:30. Penalties: Brind'amour, Car (Obstr holding), 15:22.Shots on goal: 1st 2nd 3rd TOTALCarolina 7 9 7 23Montreal 10 8 12 30
Power play Conversions: Car 0 of 2, Mon 0 of 4. Goalies: Carolina, Irbe (28 shots, 27 saves; record: 17 19 7). Montreal, Theodore (23, 23; record: 10 9 2). A:19,380. Referee: B Mccreary. Linesmen: Brisebois, Driscoll.