Cam Ward made 34 saves in his second game back from injury to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Eric Staal hit the game-winning goal at 2:55 in the third period to secure victory for Ward, who played his first game since Feb. 3 on Monday following a back injury.
Despite being outshot 12-2 in the first period, Carolina found a way to win for the third time in four games.
“We were trying a whole new thing, to see if we could win a game without actually taking a stride in the first,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice told reporters. “But all joking aside, we were pretty good in the third.”
Canadiens defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron opened the scoring with a slap shot at 8:04 in the first before the visitors twice beat goaltender Carey Price, who finished with 25 saves.
Brandon Sutter scored at 3:44 in the second period to tie the game before Staal’s wrist shot winner.
Montreal (37-32-8) remain in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, while Carolina (33-35-9) are seven points outside of a playoff spot.
Montreal are tied with Philadelphia and Boston on 82 points with the Atlanta Thrashers two points behind.
The Canadiens have struggled to score recently and are without forward Glen Metropolit, who will be out for six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury.
“Sometimes when you’re doing all the right things and it’s not working out, you start doing the wrong things, said Habs defenseman Hal Gill. “We know what we need to do the rest of the way to get this [reaching the playoffs] done.”
LIGHTNING 2, PENGUINS 0
At Pittsburgh, Steven Stamkos scored his 46th goal to edge within one of NHL leader Sidney Crosby as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Wednesday.
Crosby and the Penguins couldn’t find the net on a 5-minute power play in the first period and went on to lose their fourth in six games after winning their previous two.
Pittsburgh missed an opportunity to take a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division over idle New Jersey.
Lightning goalie Mike Smith made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season.
Steve Downie also scored for Tampa Bay.
STARS 5, SHARKS 1
At Dallas, Steve Ott had three goals for his first career hat trick, scoring short-handed early in the first period for Dallas and adding even-strength and power-play goals late in the second period.
Loui Eriksson and Brian Sutherby also scored, and Marty Turco made 29 saves to help end San Jose’s winning streak at four games.
Rookie Logan Couture had a power-play goal for San Jose, the Western Conference leader with 104 points — three better than second-place Chicago.
SABRES 6, PANTHERS 2
At Buffalo, New York, Jason Pominville scored his team-leading 24th goal as Buffalo inched closer to clinching the Northeast Division title with a victory over Florida.
Raffi Torres had three assists in his first game back after missing six because of a hand injury, and Ryan Miller made 13 saves for his 39th victory — one short of matching a career high. The injury-depleted Sabres also got production from their role players as defenseman Henrik Tallinder, fourth-liner Adam Mair and rookies Tim Kennedy, Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis also scored.
Michael Frolik and Jeff Taffe scored for Florida, which is all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
In other NHL action it was:
• Flames 2, Coyotes 1
• Ducks 5, Avalanche 2
• Blackhawks 4, Wild 0
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first