|MTL||1||1||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||1||1||2||(0 - 0)||4|
Canes Stare Down Canadiens In a Wild One
Flavor of the Game 700K
RALEIGH, N.C. (Nov. 30, 2006) - A good NHL coach has the pulse of his team, whether to press when things are going South or back off some. Peter Laviolette did both with equal success Thursday night.
Carolina had been outscored a combined 12-3 in three of four losses recently, but may have put together its best performance of the season against Montreal, getting a 4-2 victory after a message from Laviolette to "have some fun."
"We're a real good hockey team and there is a lot of expectation that goes with winning the Stanley Cup, but once in a while you have to step back and enjoy the game and enjoy each other," the coach said. "Trust me, 'play hard' was in the message, but while playing hard you can enjoy it and have fun. The guys looked loose and were having fun."
Eric Belanger scored a short-side goal 46 seconds later to clinch the total effort for the Canes.
"This game was big for team morale," said Williams. "It was good to have some fun. We had some fun before the game and we had fun playing the game. We weren't tight. We were loose. We wanted to have fun working."
The tone of Carolina's aggressive style was set early by Erik Cole, who scored the first two goals and was virtually a one-man wrecking crew against Montreal's defense.
"When he's on his game he's one of the best in the league," Williams said of Cole. "I wish I could skate like him. He's one of the great power forwards in the game when he's going."
"He was really strong. From start-to-finish he was really powerful with his stride on the puck and driving the net," Laviolette said of Cole, who tied the franchise record with 11 of Carolina's season-high 48 shots.
"I didn't do anything different today than I have been doing," said Cole. "I felt good from the start and got some good looks at the net early and some good scoring chances. Our line had a pile of shots and we were creating opportunities as a group out there. It was fun."
The Staal-Cole-Walker line accounted for 18 shots.
"I just seemed that every time we came across the blue line with the puck things were opening up for us," said Cole. "We did a great job of controlling the play down low."
And also a good job of closing in around Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet, who has been tough on Carolina the last two seasons.
"We needed that because that's how we had success against them in the playoffs last year," Laviolette said. "Huet is a great goalie when he can see the puck. He doesn't give up a lot of rebounds, he's in control of his game. We found success when we're around the crease."
Carolina now has five players with 10 or more goals, matching Buffalo as the only other team in the NHL with that total. Cole, Williams, Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Staal and Scott Walker are Carolina's 10-goal scorers.
"The stats speak for themselves," said Cole, who has 10 goals and 15 assists in 27 games. "We're certainly as deep as we were last year and Cory (Stillman) is close to coming back, which is only going to make us deeper.
"I like what we have in the room. Although we lost some pieces over the offseason we brought in some really good players that have fit in great not only on the ice but to the chemistry factor in the room, too."
The Hurricanes had been 0-6 against playoff opponents from last season before the win against Montreal, who beat Carolina 4-0 here on Nov.2.
Cole gave Carolina a short-lived 2-1 lead midway through the second as he scored for the second time in the game off his own rebound.
Carolina fell behind midway through the opening period after Anton Babchuk coughed the puck up in the slot, but Cole and the rest of the Canes quickly picked the pace up.
Cole scored his ninth of the season with 3:36 left in the first to tie it 1-1 after fighting his way past Radek Bonk and then poking in his own rebound through a maze of players.
Carolina received a power play 25 seconds later and appeared to be gaining some momentum, but Eric Staal was called for hooking on a 2-on-1 Montreal break less than a minute into the man advantage.
Montreal's second goal to tie it at 2-2 late in the second also came on an odd-man rush as Ward was beaten from the right circle.
But Laviolette wasn't worried even though the game was tied midway through the third.
"I was really pleased with the way we played from the time the puck dropped," he said. "We were playing the game the right way. We were working. We were pretty consistent from goaltending to defense to all the lines, just shift after shift."
David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.
|Michael Ryder (6) Tip-in - ASST: Guillaume Latendresse (3), Saku Koivu (15)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Erik Cole (9) Slapshot - ASST: Glen Wesley (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Erik Cole (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Scott Walker (10), Bret Hedican (7)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Tomas Plekanec (3) Slapshot - ASST: Sergei Samsonov (8), Mark Streit (7)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Justin Williams (10) Backhand shot - ASST: Ray Whitney (20), Rod Brind'Amour (24)|
3 - 2 CAR
|Eric Belanger (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Chad LaRose (7)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Craig Rivet Hooking against Andrew Ladd|
|Eric Staal Hooking against Michael Ryder|
|Andrew Ladd Holding against Saku Koivu|
|Sheldon Souray Holding against Erik Cole|
|Mike Komisarek Holding against Craig Adams|
|Sheldon Souray Cross checking against Justin Williams|
|Justin Williams Holding against Michael Ryder|
|SA: 48||TOI: 59:05|
|Saves: 44||EV: 32 - 36|
|PIM: 0||PP: 10 - 10|
|SV%: .917||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 27||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 25||EV: 19 - 21|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .926||SH: 1 - 1|