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Canadiens blank Canes as Huet has 1st season shutout

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens became the latest of
Carolina's playoff victims to get some payback against the
defending Stanley Cup champions.

Cristobal Huet stopped 31 shots in his first shutout of the
season to lead Montreal to a 4-0 win over the Hurricanes on
Thursday night.

It dropped the Hurricanes to 0-3-1 against the three Eastern
Conference teams they beat mere months ago during their remarkable
postseason run.

"It's a good standard to start the year -- if we can beat them,
it'll let them know that it's not going to be like last year,
maybe," Huet said. "But there is no revenge or anything like
that. We're just happy to beat a very good team."

Michael Komisarek had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens,
who won convincingly despite being outshot 31-27 and beat Carolina
in a regular-season game at the RBC Center for the first time since
March 21, 2003.

The Canadiens lost all four regular-season games last season
against Carolina by a combined 25-9.

Saku Koivu, Mike Johnson and Tomas Plekanec added goals for
Montreal, which won a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference
quarterfinal series in which the Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0
series deficit to advance in six games behind then-unheralded
goalie Cam Ward.

"We wanted to get this win, no doubt," Koivu said.

Ward was inserted into the lineup during that series and emerged
as one of the key components of Carolina's run to its first Stanley
Cup.

This time, the Canadiens beat him four times and took command
midway through the second period by scoring twice within a span of
1:44.

Komisarek streaked down the right side, dodged a sliding Ray
Whitney and snapped a shot past Ward for a short-handed goal at
10:45.

"One of their guys unorthodoxly came flying at me, and I went
around and just tried to get the puck on the net," Komisarek said.

Moments later, Koivu took a pass from Sergei Markov near center
ice, made a nifty move on Whitney and maneuvered into the slot,
then beat Ward with a wrist shot for a power-play goal at 12:29.

"They got kind of a fluky goal from the corner, and then a
power-play goal and then it was a different game," Carolina center
Kevyn Adams said. "They were stingy when they needed to be and
they came in here and beat us."

Koivu was playing against the Hurricanes for the first time
since his career-threatening eye injury, which happened when
Carolina's Justin Williams accidentally poked him in the left eye
with his stick.

Johnson and Plekanec added goals late in the third period.

"I liked the way we played through two periods," Carolina
coach Peter Laviolette said. "Then once they got the third one, it
zapped the wind out of us."

The Canadiens, who entered as one of the NHL's best teams both
on and against the power play, were 1-of-5 with the man advantage
and kept the Hurricanes scoreless in eight power-play chances.

"We were wide or high or into him," Laviolette said. "He
played a pretty good game, but we definitely had an opportunity
there to take charge of the game, and we didn't do that."

Huet, who had seven shutouts in 33 regular-season starts last
season, entered having allowed at least two goals in each of his
five previous starts but finished with his first shutout since
blanking Boston on April 1.

Game notes
Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour remained one point shy
of 1,000 for his career. ... Carolina forward Erik Cole, who
entered with 13 goals and 20 points in 19 regular-season and
playoff games against Montreal, was held scoreless. ... The
Hurricanes played on consecutive nights for the fifth time this
season and fell to 1-3 in the second games of those stretches. ...
Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason sat out his second straight game
with a strained shoulder. Forwards Ryan Bayda and Trevor Letowski
also did not play for the Hurricanes. ... Defenseman Mathieu
Dandenault and forward Garth Murray were scratches for the
Canadiens.