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Carolina Stuns Struggling Habs

The Carolina Hurricanes lost captain Keith Primeau but won the game.

Martin Gelinas, Gary Roberts and Ray Sheppard scored in a seven-minute span and the Hurricanes handed the Montreal Canadiens their fourth consecutive loss 5-4 Tuesday night.

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Carolina played most of the game without Primeau, who left midway through the first period after taking a shot off his left ankle. He did not return but X-rays were negative, a team official said.

"This says something about the leadership we have, not getting frazzled, weathering the storm," said coach Paul Maurice. "We realized we were still in the hockey game even though Keith was out."

The Hurricanes, returning home from a three-game West Coast trip, fell behind 2-1 after one period but rallied to keep Montreal in last place in the Northeast Division.

"We made a couple of individual mistakes that hurt us, but at least we didn't quit," said Montreal coach Alain Vigneault. "Give them full marks, they worked hard. Give us full marks, we didn't stop competing."

The Hurricanes had to hang on after Montreal got power-play goals from Vincent Damphousse and Martin Rucinsky in the final 8:38.

"We were playing a pretty solid hockey team, they can really open it up," Roberts said of Montreal. "Their record isn't great right now, but the Montreal Canadiens always carry that tradition around."

The game ended with a brawl between Roberts, Kevin Dineen and Montreal's newly-acquired Eric Weinrich and Vladimir Malakhov. Carolina's Curtis Leschyshyn was given a game misconduct for being a third man in on a fight. It's unclear if any suspensions will be handed out by the NHL.

"You have to be careful at the end of games like that because the league is pretty strict on those kind of things," said Roberts. "I don't think anything really bad happened, but it's one of those things where emotions are high."

Dineen became the franchises all-time penalty leader at 1,380 minutes with his five-minute fighting major.

"You like to see the emotion and you like to see guys sticking up for one another," Maurice said of the game-ending fighting. "I don't like to see five-on-five brawls, but if you allow certain chippy things the tempers get going."

Gelinas tied it at 2 when he sent Dineen's breakaway rebound past a sprawled Jose Theodore.

Roberts, Carolina's points leader who had gone seven games without a goal, scored 3 ½ minutes later when he slammed a one-timer past Theodore after taking a centering pass from Nelson Emerson.

Ray Sheppard poked in another rebound less than four minutes later, scoring his fifth of the season, to give the Southeast Division leaders a two-goal cushion.

Sheppard also added a power-play goal 7:10 into the third period, giving Carolina its most home goals this season. Montreal fell to 0-6-1 when trailing after two periods.

Dineen scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period, but Carolina's lead was short-lived.

Montreal, which outshot the Hurricanes 11-4 in the opening 20 minutes, scored 40 seconds later when Brian Savage scooped up Steve Chiasson's giveaway at the blue line and beat Arturs Irbe despite being hooked.

Four minutes later, Rucinsky scored a power play goal from in front after taking a nice centering pass from Damphousse, who had set up behind Irbe. Rucinsky's third of the season snapped an 0-for-20 Montreal power-play drought.

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