Sergei Samsonov finally was able to score a key goal to end an 18-game slump, and
The Canes peppered Carey Price with a season-high 48 shots for yet another one-goal victory – the team’s seventh close victory so far this season, making the fans sit on the edge of their seats one more time at the RBC Center.
“We’ve got a couple others that need to get off the schneid,” said Ray Whitney, who scored the game winner with 13:27 left. “Hopefully that opens things up for (Sergei). I know he’s been trying to keep a positive attitude as much as possible.
“Our next one is to get the big boy going,” added Whitney, referring to NHL All-Star MVP Eric Staal, who has now gone eight games without a goal. “Once we get some guys who play a lot of minutes contributing we’ll be OK. We’re doing what we’re doing right now without a lot of goal scoring.”
Trailing 1-0 heading to the third, Samsonov raced out of his own end, flipped a pass into the
“It’s nice to see that one go in,” said the slumping Samsonov, who had just three assists in 18 games prior to his first goal. “There have been some quality chances throughout the last few games and my hard work paid off. I’m shooting a little bit more and just trying to go a little more to the net.”
Less than four minutes after Samsanov tied it, Whitney pounced on a Scott Walker rebound on the power play, sneaking it past a sprawling Price for the 36th game-winning goal of his career.
“I had no idea it went in,” said Whitney, who had a delayed reaction after having his vision blocked out by a mass of bodies near the crease.
The Canes spent most of the second period parading to the penalty box and fell behind 1-0 on a carry-over roughing call against Ryan Bayda to end the first. Robert Lang gave the Canadiens the one-goal cushion with his 80th career power-play goal, beating Ward on a low one-timer from the slot.
Ward kept it a one-goal game with some nice work in net in the second, including a point-blank stop on Lang in the final 10 seconds of the period.
Staal almost broke his seven-game scoring slump four minutes into the game when he hit the post on Carolina’s first power play as the Canes dominated the first period, outshooting Montreal 18-8.
“We knew that was probably our best period so far this season,” Tuomo Ruutu said of the first. “Everybody knew we played well. We had a lot of quality chances, so if we kept playing like that into the third period you know you’re going to score in the end.”
“We’ve played games as well as we’ve played tonight and came out on the wrong side of them,” added Whitney. “Price was very good. We’ve hit two goaltenders in the first period who have been excellent, but the last two games we’ve come out very prepared and very energetic.”
The Canes, without a day off since Nov. 5, will close the locker room Wednesday for a day of R&R.
“We’ve been grinding it out both mentally and physically,” Laviolette said. “You just need to get away sometimes.”
NOTES: The Canes have scored just 14 first-period goals in 19 games. …