Pat Hickey‘s game story:
Brian Gionta scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday night at the RBC Center. The Canadiens came back to tie the score twice in the third period on goals by Michael Cammalleri and Travis Moen. The Canadiens’ other goal was a shorthanded effort by Lars Eller in the second period. Jiri Tlusty and Anthony Stewart gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead by the six-minute mark of the first period, while Brandon Sutter scored the other Carolina goal.
Quick starts: Tlusty scored the opening goal of the game at the 34-second mark of the first period. Cammalleri was quicker off the mark in the third period when he scored at 27 seconds. It was Cammalleri’s fifth of the season, but only his second in the last 11 games.
Price turns the corner: After giving up a softy to Tlusty to open the game, Carey Price stopped 30 shots and then thwarted Chad Larose, Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen in the shootout. Price failed to make a single save in two previous shootout losses this season.
Killer instinct: Eller ignited the Canadiens’ comeback when he scored a shorthanded goal at 9:06 of the second period. Eller scored on a rebound after Cam Ward stopped Raphael Diaz’s shot from the blue line. Carolina went 0-for-4 on the power play and the Canadiens’ penalty-killers are 29-for-29 over the past nine games.
Career season for Moen? Travis Moen tied the game at 3-3 when he deflected Yannick Weber’s shot over Ward’s shoulder. It was Moen’s 50th NHL goal and he has seven goals this season, one more than he scored all last season. He’s on a pace to top his career-best of 11 goals with Anaheim in 2006-07.
Quiet homecoming for Cole: Erik Cole was quiet in his first game here since signing with the Canadiens in the offseason. Cole, who played most of his first nine NHL seasons here, had only one shot on goal, but he did set up Gionta for what could been the game-winner with 19.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
What does it mean? The Canadiens are in 10th place. They are tied in points with eighth-place New York Rangers and Ottawa, but both teas have multiple games in hand.
Injury update: Scott Gomez, who missed nine games earlier this season with an upper-body injury, left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. His condition will be evaluated Thursday in Philadelphia.
What’s next: The Canadiens close out the week with two games against offensive powerhouses. They are in Philadelphia Friday (3 p.m. ET, TSN-A, RDS, TSN Radio-990) to play the Flyers, who are the highest-scoring team in the NHL. They are back home Saturday to play the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have received a boost with the return of Sidney Crosby.