Series (Game 2 of 4)

Montreal leads 2-1

Game 1: Friday, November 1st
Game 2: Saturday, November 23rd
Game 3: Saturday, March 22nd
Game 4: Monday, March 31st

Hurricanes 7

(9-5-3, 25 pts)

Canadiens 3

(9-8-0, 22 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2002

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
CAR 0 5 27
MTL 2 1 03

E. Cole (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

Y. Perreault (Canadiens - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

S. Hill (Hurricanes - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Cole has second career hat trick in rout

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

Erik Cole

Erik Cole and the Hurricanes' offense were firing on all cylinders again 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 dead.

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 later.

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 13:47.

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 15:20.

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press