Recharged Hurricanes whip past Canadiens 3-0

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MONTREAL — Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta only made 14 saves but securing a shutout in his first game since March 7 gave his team the boost it needed.

The Hurricanes bounced back from consecutive losses with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Raanta was returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out of action since March 7. The netminder, which hasn’t recorded a regulation loss since Nov. 17, 2022, kept his streak alive.

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The 33-year-old credited his teammates’ defensive play for limiting the number of shots, but joked that he could have done with a few more.

“It's pretty much how we play, you rarely see a lot of shots in the game,” said Raanta. “When we play like that, it's just how good we are playing in front of me.”

“He’s been good for us all year,” said Paul Stastny about Raanta. “I think every time he has an injury, he just doesn't complain, works hard, comes back and gives us new life when we need it. … I think when you have steady goaltending back there, it just makes everything a lot easier.”

Stastny had one goal and an assist. Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho added goals as Carolina (48-18-9) took the season series 3-1.

After falling 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings last Thursday, the Hurricanes showed why they lead the Metropolitan Division by outshooting Montreal 50-14.

“I thought that was as dominant as you can play a game,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. “I mean, we're in their end the whole game. Their goalie made some good saves on some tips. We didn't create a lot off the rush, but we didn't need to.”

Goaltender Sam Montembeault kept the Canadiens (30-41-6) close by making 47 saves.

“That was a well-oiled team, we had no space on the ice,” Montembeault said. “At times it was like they were playing with six on the ice. Every time we made a pass they had one guy on us so I think we need to bring more energy from the start in the next game.”

“We got outplayed in every area and it’s not a good recipe for success,” added Nick Suzuki. “We hang Monty out to dry and it could’ve been way worse. He played a hell of a game.”

While the Habs are well aware that they will miss the post-season, coach Martin St. Louis said there isn’t much more to evaluate from his players ahead of the off-season.

“There’s what, five games left? There’s not much more to evaluate,” St. Louis said. “I have a good idea but we need to finish better than that.”

The Hurricanes opened the scoring six minutes into the opening frame when Skjei beat Montembeault by whipping a shot through traffic.

Carolina controlled the first half of the game, outshooting the Canadiens 28-7 by the midway point of the second period.

The visitors scored their second goal of the night at 10:51 of the second period when Stastny redirected Brent Burns’ wrist shot from the point to net his ninth of the campaign.

Aho increased Carolina’s lead to three on the power play at 16:27 during a delayed call for a second Montreal penalty. Stefan Noesen found his Finnish teammate with a cross-crease pass who completed the one-timer.

The Hurricanes peppered Montembeault in the final frame but the Habs netminder stood tall, including a glove save as he was down on the ice without his stick. Montembeault was cheered as he blocked Carolina’s 50th shot but the team was booed as the game ended.

“We were definitely frustrated but we didn’t have enough gas in the tank to do something about it,” said St. Louis. “When we had opportunities to make a play but we couldn’t connect, we couldn’t make a pass."


The Canadiens announced after the game that defenceman David Savard will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Saturday night was the second game Savard had missed.


Canadiens forward Joel Armia made his return to the lineup after missing the last 19 games with an upper respiratory infection. Armia replaced Rafael Harvey-Pinard, who was given a rest day but accepted the Molson Cup awarded to the player of the month before the game.

“He needs a day off,” said Habs coach Martin St. Louis about Harvey-Pinard before the game. “He gave us a lot recently and he’s got a few bruises so we’re giving him the night off.”


The Canadiens welcome the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2023.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press

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