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Canadiens overpowering

Five-goal first period puts Montreal in total control

Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau was asked what was working for the Canadiens with the man advantage.

"Everything," Carbonneau replied.

Tomas Plekanec had two goals and two assists, all on the power play, to help the Canadiens beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 7-4, last night in Raleigh, N.C.

"We wanted to get the puck on the net and get rebounds," Plekanec said. "We did all the right things and it paid off."

Montreal scored five power-play goals, four in the first period, en route to its third straight victory. The Canadiens have scored eight of their NHL-best 16 power-play goals in two games in Carolina, both wins.

"There are no secrets to it," Carbonneau said. "We have guys that can move the puck and make plays. You can pass it around for two minutes, but you can't score if you don't shoot it. That's all we did. Just by shooting the puck a lot, it opened other options."

Plekanec scored Montreal's first goal with the man advantage at 8:40 in the first, and assisted on Alex Kovalev and Mark Streit's power-play goals in the period.

Kyle Chipchura, Saku Koivu, and Mathieu Dandenault also scored, and Andrei Markov added three assists for Montreal, which has 17 goals in its last three games.

The Hurricanes, who had earned at least a point in nine of their first 10 games, couldn't keep up with Montreal's special teams after center Jeff Hamilton cut the lead to 2-1 in the first.

Kovalev, playing in his 1,000th NHL game, made it 3-1 on Montreal's second power play of the game at 12:20 of the first. Kovalev one-timed a crossing pass at the right circle for his fifth goal of the season and 338th of his 15-year career.

The Canadiens built a 5-1 advantage when Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore scored on his own goalie, a goal credited to Montreal captain Koivu, and Streit finished the power-play spree with a goal with 1:24 left in the first.

Plekanec's second power-play goal came at 16:20 of the second for a 6-2 cushion.

Canucks 3, Capitals 2 - Goalie Roberto Luongo extended his winning streak against Washington to 10 games by making 26 saves, and Taylor Pyatt scored twice to lead visiting Vancouver. The Capitals lost for the fifth time in six games.

Daniel Sedin scored the other goal for Vancouver, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-2 on the road. It wasn't easy, though, because Alex Ovechkin scored on a power play with about 1 1/2 minutes left to draw Washington within a goal, and then another penalty gave the hosts a man advantage for the final 77 seconds. But Luongo was up to the task, making a close-range save on Michael Nylander in the closing seconds.

Sabres 4, Panthers 2 - Drew Stafford's fluke goal with 8:48 left in the third period snapped a tie and helped visiting Buffalo break a three-game losing streak.

Stafford scored when his wrist shot bounced off goalie Tomas Vokoun's blocker high into the air, then fell in behind Vokoun. Buffalo's Daniel Paille looked as though he might have tipped the puck, but the goal was awarded after review.

Red Wings 5, Sharks 1 - Valtteri Filppula and Tomas Holmstrom each had a goal and an assist as host Detroit shut down San Jose. Andreas Lilja, Henrik Zetterberg, and Kirk Maltby also scored in Detroit's fourth straight win.

Avalanche 3, Flames 2 - Ryan Smyth scored 23 seconds into overtime for visiting Colorado. Marek Svatos tied it at 2 with 4:15 left in regulation, and Jose Theodore made 39 saves.

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