RALEIGH, N.C. – The punchless Carolina Hurricanes kept peppering Carey Price, and got a couple of pucks past the Montreal goalie just in time.
Sergei Samsonov and Ray Whitney scored 3 1/2 minutes apart in the third period, and Carolina put a season-high 48 shots on net in its come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Canadiens on Tuesday night.
“We came out with the attitude that we were going to shoot some pucks and crash the net a little bit more,” Samsonov said. “We really made an effort to try to put the puck on net from any position, and I think that kind of created the forecheck.”
Whitney followed Samsonov’s first goal of the season with the go-ahead goal with 13:27 remaining to jump-start a Carolina offence that averaged fewer than two goals in its previous six games.
“We’re doing what we’re doing now with not a lot of goal-scoring,” Whitney said.
Robert Lang scored for the Canadiens, who ended a lengthy power-play drought yet lost for the third time in four games.
“The whole game was about who was going to take a gamble,” Montreal forward Alex Kovalev said. “I think every time we saw (the) opportunity to be on the safe side, we took a gamble, and it cost us. We really (need to) focus on and concentrate on the little details, which is not to worry about points or if you’re going to score a goal. For now, we need to win a couple of games 1-0 or 2-1.
“There are not going to be a lot of goals like there were at the beginning of the season. That’s where it starts.”
Price made a career-high 46 saves and stopped the first 30 shots he faced. Carolina’s 48 shots also were the most allowed by the Canadiens.
“That’s a team that shoots everything,” Price said. “Whenever they get the puck in a good shooting position, they’re going to be letting it go.”
Cam Ward made 28 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won two straight after dropping three in a row.
“We’re just building a little bit on each game,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “If you go back to (Friday’s) loss in Atlanta, the next game and the next game, I think we’re doing the right things and getting a little better each game. So we just have to continue on that road.”
Whitney gave Carolina the lead by capping a busy sequence that started with Dennis Seidenberg’s slap shot that caromed off the back boards to Scott Walker, who fanned from close range. The puck rolled to Whitney, and he pushed it high past Price for his fifth goal and first in four games.
That came after Samsonov got the Hurricanes even with about 17 minutes left. He took a feed from Patrick Eaves on a 2-on-2 rush and beat Price with a snap shot to end an 18-game goal drought.
“There have been some quality chances that I’ve gotten throughout the last few games, and it paid off,” Samsonov said.
His slump might be over, but Eric Staal’s certainly isn’t. The Hurricanes’ marquee player hasn’t scored in eight games and has one goal on home ice.
“Our next (goal) is to get the big boy going,” Whitney said of Staal.
Montreal entered with one of the NHL’s worst power-play units, but scored with the man advantage for the first time in five games.
Barely a minute into the second period, Lang got things going for the Canadiens, who entered scoreless in their previous 20 power-play chances. He slipped into the slot, took a feed from Kovalev and snapped the puck hard past Ward’s stick for his sixth goal, making it 1-0. One-third of Lang’s 240 career goals have come with the man advantage.
Notes: Lang has scored in two straight games. … Carolina C Rod Brind’Amour’s two-game goal streak ended. … Montreal lost in regulation after scoring first for the first time this season. … The season series is tied 1-1.