Cole has second career hat trick in rout


MONTREAL (AP) -- Erik Cole and the Carolina Hurricanes' offense
are right at home in Montreal.

Cole got his second career hat trick, scoring two of Carolina's
five second-period goals as the Hurricanes enjoyed their
highest-scoring game of the season in a 7-3 win over the Canadiens
on Saturday night.

The Hurricanes played its first game in Montreal since May 13,
when they clinched their East Conference semifinal series against
the Canadiens with an 8-2 win in Game 6. Carolina had overcome a
3-0 deficit in Game 4, also in Montreal, for a 4-3 overtime win.

"For some reason, we keep getting bounces in this building,''
Cole said.

Cole, who also had an assist, had a goal disallowed early in the
second with the Hurricanes trailing 2-0 before getting both a
power-play and a short-handed goal later in the period. He got his
third goal with 2:20 remaining in the third.

"I'm content with getting repaid with three for that one being
called off,'' Cole said.

Defensemen Sean Hill and Glen Wesley each had three assists as
Jan Hlavac, Jeff O'Neill and Ron Francis also scored for Carolina,
which entered with just 44 goals in its first 20 games.

Carolina scored on three of four power-play opportunities in the
second, going 3-for-6 overall.

"When we don't score on the power play, we're no good,''
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "The games are so unusual in
this building.''

The Hurricanes' five goals in the second came within a span of
13:05, tying their season high for goals in a game. Carolina also
tied a franchise record for most goals in a period in a road game.

"It was a shock. It was like boom, boom, boom, and it was
3-2,'' Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "When you're up 2-0,
that should be good enough not to lose 7-3.''

Bates Battaglia scored midway through the third to give the
Hurricanes a season-high six goals and Cole completed the scoring
with his third of the game with 2:20 remaining.

Montreal's Yanic Perreault scored his second goal of the game
during the Hurricanes' five-goal stretch in the second as the teams
combined for six goals in the period.

Richard Zednik scored for Montreal, which lost its second
straight as goalie Jose Theodore allowed all seven goals in his
return to the lineup after missing two games because of a hip
flexor injury.

"If I decided to play, no matter what happened, there are no
excuses -- my injury was not responsible,'' Theodore said.

Hurricanes goalie Arturs Irbe made his first appearance since
Oct. 23 and made 28 saves for his first win (1-3-0) of the season.

"The boys gave me a nice present,'' Irbe said. "Seven goals,
that's a lot.''

Perreault opened the scoring 13:22 in, and Zednik scored his
10th at 16:17 to put the Canadiens up 2-0.

Cole had a goal disallowed 0:21 into the second when he scored
on a delayed penalty after referee Bill McCreary had blown the play

Hlavac scored on the ensuing power play at 2:15 and Cole took
advantage of an unporstmanlike penalty on Canadiens defenseman
Patrice Brisebois following the goal to tie it at 2 just 53 seconds

Carolina moved ahead 3-2 on its third straight power-play goal
at 12:59 as Hill's dump-in shot took an odd bounce off the end
boards to O'Neill, who fired a shot past Theodore from the right
faceoff circle.

Cole got his second of the game on a short-handed effort at

Perreault got Montreal within 4-3 with his 11th goal on a power
play at 14:37, but Francis restored Carolina's two-goal lead at

Game notes
Cole got his first hat trick against Atlanta on Dec. 21,
2001. ... Francis had a goal disallowed in the third before Cole's
third of the game because the net moved before the puck entered it.
... It was the franchise's eighth five-goal period on the road, and
first since the Hartford Whalers scored five goals in the second
period of an 8-7 loss to Winnipeg in a neutral site game played in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on Jan. 18, 1993. ... Montreal has allowed
five short-handed goals this season.