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Canadiens-Hurricanes Preview

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GAME: Montreal Canadiens at Carolina Hurricanes.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; tied 2-2.

TIME: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Thanks to Rod Brind'Amour, the Carolina Hurricanes are back in their series with the Montreal Canadiens.

After trailing 0-2 in the quarterfinals, the Hurricanes will try to take a 3-2 lead when the series returns to the RBC Center.

Brind'Amour scored 5:54 into the third period Friday to give Carolina a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens and even the series. The Hurricanes' captain has four goals in the last three games to help his team get back in position to make a run at its first Stanley Cup.

"We know what we're supposed to be doing and you don't magically come up with a new plan," said Brind'Amour, who had 31 goals and 39 assists during the regular season. "It's execution. At the end of the day, either your goalie stands on his head or you had better execution, and I think we had better execution."

Carolina executed early when Justin Williams and Aaron Ward scored 71 seconds apart midway through the first period to give the team a 2-0 advantage. The Hurricanes' lead didn't last long, however, as they gave up unanswered goals to Alexander Perezhogin and Sheldon Souray in the second period.

Brind'Amour appeared to have the go-ahead goal at the end of that period but referee Tim Peel had blown his whistle before the puck crossed the line and waved off the goal. So Brind'Amour had to wait one more period to win the game for Carolina.

"He's definitely our leader," said Hurricanes rookie goaltender Cam Ward, who made 23 saves in his second straight start after replacing Martin Gerber midway through Game 2. "It's just great to see his hard work paying off because he puts a lot of effort into this team."

Carolina's effort wasn't up to par early in the series as it was outscored 12-6 in two home losses before the scene shifted to Montreal. The Hurricanes also trailed in Game 3 before Brind'Amour and Eric Staal scored to lift them to a 2-1 overtime victory.

Carolina has lost its last five postseason games at home.

Montreal will continue to play without center Saku Koivu, who was hit with Williams' errant stick near his left eye in Game 3. Koivu was released from the hospital on Friday and sent words of encouragement to his teammates, but they couldn't capitalize on their opportunities.

"The other night we had lots of great scoring chances and we didn't complete them, but tonight the scoring chances were minimized," Canadiens coach Bob Gainey said. "So we'll be looking for ways to penetrate the defenses of Carolina and to get some of our players participating and getting some results on the Carolina side of center ice."

Cristobal Huet made 27 saves Friday, but again got little offensive support as the Canadiens have scored just three goals in their last two defeats.

Game 6 is Tuesday in Montreal.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Canadiens - 93 points; 7th seed. Hurricanes - 112 points; 2nd seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Alexei Kovalev, 3 goals and 6 points; Tomas Plekanec, 4 assists; Francis Bouillon, 10 PIM. Hurricanes - Brind'Amour, 4 goals; Staal, 5 assists and 6 points; Doug Weight, 8 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Canadiens - Power play: 27.8 percent (5 for 18). Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (18 for 22). Hurricanes - Power play: 18.2 percent (4 for 22). Penalty killing: 72.2 percent (13 for 18).

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Huet (2-2, 2.49 GAA); David Aebischer (no appearances). Hurricanes - Ward (2-1, 1.88); Gerber (0-1, 7.20).

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