Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Montreal leads 2-1

Game 1: Friday, December 5th
Canadiens1Final
OT
Hurricanes1
Game 2: Saturday, December 6th
Hurricanes1Final
Canadiens3
Game 3: Saturday, December 27th
Canadiens1Final
OT
Hurricanes2
Game 4: Saturday, February 28th
Hurricanes0Final
OT
Canadiens1

Canadiens 1

(16-15-2, 38 pts)

Hurricanes 2

(11-14-2, 32 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 27, 2003

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 OT T
MTL 0 0 1 01
CAR 0 1 0 12

S. Hill (Hurricanes - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

R. Francis (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

M. Ryder (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Hill scores two PP goals vs. Habs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Sean Hill has gone to more wrist shots since he's a little thin on sticks. The defenseman's new approach has produced three goals in two games for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hill broke Carolina's power-play slump, scoring twice with the man advantage in leading the Hurricanes to a 2-1 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Hill's game-winner came three seconds after Andrei Markov was called for a cross check on Jeff O'Neill 35 seconds into OT. Ron Francis won the draw and Hill blasted a high shot over the glove of Jose Theodore.

"One of the big things is I'm getting in tighter to the net for my shots. I don't need to take slap shots," said Hill, who has broken numerous sticks this season with big windups. "And I only have one stick left now so I'm not taking a whole lot of slap shots in games or practices."

Theodore had little chance to save Hill's quick winner.

"I didn't see it. I got screened off," the Montreal goaltender said. "I went down to protect the bottom half of the net and he went upstairs."

Carolina had been scoreless on its last 26 power plays -- including 18 in a row under new coach Peter Laviolette -- before Hill's low wrist shot with the man advantage beat Theodore with 4:32 left in the second period.

Hill had gone 33 games without a goal before scoring on consecutive nights. He notched his first of the season in a 3-1 loss at Buffalo on Friday night.

"Both shots tonight were quick, hard and accurate," Laviolette said of Hill. "It's nice to see him get it off and hopefully he can gain some confidence from that and keep it going.

"He's an offensive guy who can shoot the puck. In my opinion, he belongs on the power play."

Montreal lost its third straight road game after being off two days for the Christmas break.

"You would hope your team comes back with a little more jump, but we seemed rusty," coach Claude Julien said.

Richard Zednik scored on a Montreal power play six minutes into the third, one-timing a shot from the slot past Kevin Weekes to tie the score.

Zednik's 12th of the season tied Sheldon Souray for the team lead.

Jan Bulis also hit the post with 6:49 left in regulation for the Canadiens before Hill's dramatic winner.

Laviolette changed Carolina's lines and defensive pairings to try to get some offense out of the lowest scoring team in the league. But the Hurricanes scored two goals or less for the 27th time in 35 games.

"I don't think we'll be the highest scoring team in the NHL, but the goals will come more freely -- maybe with confidence, maybe with wins," said Laviolette, now 3-2 since replacing Paul Maurice behind the Carolina bench.

Carolina got a four-minute power play less than two minutes in when Joe Juneau high-sticked Rod Brind'Amour and drew blood. The Hurricanes didn't even get a shot on net.

Montreal's only power play of the first produced the best scoring chance of the period. However, Weekes stoned Michael Ryder from in close with 1:41 left to keep it scoreless.

Weekes also stopped Ryder from point-blank range less than two minutes after Carolina took a 1-0 lead.

Game notes


Jesse Boulerice was a healthy scratch for the first time this season for Carolina. ... Montreal's Patrice Brisebois played in his 750th career game. ... The Hurricanes have just 16 first-period goals in 35 games. ... Carolina's Erik Cole has gone 19 games without a goal. ... After a slow start, Montreal captain Saku Koivu has points in 11 of 16 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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