Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 19 News List

NHL: Canes block Habs’ Eastern advance

HE’S BACK In his second game since February, goalie Cam Ward made 34 saves, while Eric Staal hit the final goal in the third period for the team’s third win in four games

AP AND REUTERS , MONTREAL

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.

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