Canadiens go into Olympic break with third straight win
Canadiens 4, Hurricanes 1; Pacioretty suffers injury, potentially jeopardizing Olympics with U.S. team
Brian Gionta #21 and Lars Eller #81 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrate after Gionta’s empty-net goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of a game at PNC Arena on Feb. 8, 2014 in Raleigh, N.C. Montreal won 4-1.
Photograph by: Grant Halverson, Getty Images
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Canadiens found themselves down to 10 forwards after Max Pacioretty suffered a lower-body injury in the first period but linemate David Desharnais picked up the slack with a pair of goals and Sochi-bound goaltender Carey Price made 31 saves as the Canadiens rallied to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 Saturday night at PNC Arena.
Second-period explosion: Carolina dominated the second period but the Canadiens scored twice in a span of 1:22 to grab a 2-1 lead. Montreal enjoyed a 4-on-2 and Rene Bourque made a great pass to set up Desharnais for a goal at 17:52. Brendan Gallagher not only led the rush to pick up the second assist but he also managed to distract Carolina goaltender Anton Khudobin at the other end of the play. Ryan White gave the Canadiens the lead at 19:13. He was in front of the net when he was hit by Andrei Markov’s shot and he alertly grabbed the loose puck and scored his second goal in as many games.
Insurance policy: Desharnais scored his 11th goal of the season at 6:15 of the third period to put Montreal ahead 3-1. Gallagher pushed the puck ahead to Desharnais, who beat Khudobin with a wrist shot off the rush. Brian Gionta completed the scoring with an empty-net goal.
’Canes draw first blood: Drayson Bowman opened the scoring for Carolina when he beat Price with a perfect shot to the far top corner. Tuomo Ruutu didn’t earn a mention on the scoresheet but he did an effective job screening the goalie.
Pacioretty feels the pain: Pacioretty’s availability for the U.S. Olympic team became a hot topic after he was injured with 7:30 remaining in the first period, but he will go to Sochi. Pacioretty was driving the net when he was driven into a goal post by Brett Bellemore. The Canadiens winger appeared to be in pain and wasn’t putting any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice. He said he suffered a bruised left arm and hip and experienced back spasms but expected to be ready for the Games. Montreal went into the game without Michael Bournival, who experienced concussion-like symptoms after being accidentally struck by linemate Dale Weise’s stick Thursday night.
What’s next: Seven Canadiens are scheduled to play in the Winter Olympics at Sochi and most of their teammates will take advantage of the break to find sunshine and warm weather. The players will resume practicing on Feb. 19 and Montreal’s first game following the break will be Feb. 26 when the Detroit Red Wings visit the Bell Centre.
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