RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Montreal coach Claude Julien isn't about to
let the Canadiens waste the final few games of a disappointing
Montreal came out strong one game after being eliminated from
the Eastern Conference playoff chase, while the Hurricanes are now
winless in eight (0-6-2).
''We want to at least take a step forward before next year
starts,'' Julien said. ''There are still a lot of things we can
accomplish as a team at this time of year that will simplify things
for next year.
''If we do things that work well like we did tonight, then
you've got believers and coming into next year it's a lot easier to
''It's good for the organization, it's good for the team to know
you've got a backup goaltender than can do a job like that for you
on any given night,'' Julien said. ''He's just building confidence
for himself and he's getting the confidence of his teammates as
Carolina, the defending East champs, have an NHL-low 61 points
and didn't get its first power play until there was 6:12 remaining.
''We've been out of the playoffs for a while and we played a
heck of a lot better than we did tonight,'' Carolina coach Paul
Maurice said. ''This was the first dog we've had in a long time.
''For us to beat them, we were going to have to play a lot more
physical than they did and we certainly didn't do that,'' Maurice
added. ''They were really giving it to us off the rush.''
The Hurricanes also lost their 40th game -- a first for the
franchise since 1997-98, the club's initial season in North
Carolina following a move from Hartford, Conn.
''The biggest thing at this point of the season isn't the
product, it's the process,'' Carolina defenseman Sean Hill said.
''It's about playing the right way and setting good examples for
guys and getting into good habits. We're not doing that and it
shows. That's why we played a game like we did tonight.''
Koivu, Bouillon and Zednik scored over the final 11:05 of the
first to take a 3-0 lead as Carolina goaltender Kevin Weekes got
little defensive help.
Koivu registered his 20th goal of the season when he was left wide
open in the slot, while Bouillon scored 10 seconds after Weekes
stopped Zednik on a breakaway as the teams skated four-on-four.
Zednik then notched his team-leading 30th goal with six seconds
remaining in the period as Mike Ribeiro pulled Weekes out of the
net and made a nice centering pass.
Ribeiro also assisted on Montreal's second goal, and Jan Bulis
added a pair of assists.
Donald Audette gave his team a four-goal lead with 7:08 left in
the second as his slap shot from the right wing slipped under the
pads of Weekes, 4-18-5 since Dec. 22.
''We talked about not finishing on a bad note,'' said Julien,
whose team has two games remaining. ''It's not too much to ask to
give a 60-minute effort.''
Carolina has been outscored 16-7 while playing four-on-four. ...
Koivu notched his first 20-goal season since his rookie year of
1995-96. ... The Hurricanes fell to 4-12-4 against teams from the
Northeast Division. ... Carolina has been outscored 78-43 in the
first period. ... Montreal lost defenseman Andrei Markov late in the second
period with a left knee injury. ... Koivu, Bulis and Craig Rivet
are the only Canadiens to play in all 80 games this season.