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Goaltender Theodore saves 36 of 38 shots in draw

11/1/2002

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Jose Theodore looked more like the NHL's
reigning MVP than a goalie who was benched in four of Montreal's
last six games.

Randy McKay scored his first two goals in a Canadiens uniform
and Theodore stopped 36 of 38 shots as Montreal tied the Carolina
Hurricanes 2-2 Friday night.

"We've never seen that act before,'' Carolina coach Paul
Maurice said in jest when asked about Theodore's performance.

Last year's Hart Trophy winner gave up 13 goals in three games
to start the season before being benched recently in favor of Jeff
Hackett.

But Theodore was back on his game when given a chance against
Carolina.

"The last couple of days I've been practicing hard,'' said
Theodore, who came in with a 4.38 goals-against average. "I said
(Thursday) after practice that I really felt confident about this
game.''

"Expectations are high for him coming in this year, but I'm
sure he's going to work through it,'' Carolina's Erik Cole said.

The Hurricanes improved to 4-1-2 in their last seven, but Jeff
O'Neill saw his NHL-best 10-game point streak snapped in a rematch
of last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, won by Carolina in
six games.

The Hurricanes had an opportunity to win it with 40 seconds left
in regulation when the puck rolled past Theodore and was headed
into the net. But Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet made a diving
stop with his stick to keep the score tied.

Theodore made eight of his saves in overtime as Montreal was
outshot 8-1. He even saved one with 1:45 left in the extra period
while the puck was rolling down his back.

"You don't see a lot of those off the head, hit the back of the
crossbar, hit his back and then grab it with his glove behind,''
Maurice said. "Good for him.''

Theodore called it luck.

"When you're on the top of your game and feel good, those are
the kind of saves where you just react,'' he said.

The teams traded early third-period goals 1:15 apart as David
Tanabe got his first of the season and McKay, who signed in the
offseason as a free agent from Dallas after a long stint with New
Jersey, his second on a rebound.

Doug Gilmour, who assisted on both Montreal goals, ran into
Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes on McKay's tying goal, but no
interference was called and the goal stood without review.

"It wasn't only the hit,'' Weekes said. "He also hit me and he
picked me so I couldn't get back across.''

Montreal scored first for just the third time in 10 games when
McKay netted a power-play goal 12½ minutes into the first period.

Sami Kapanen evened it up less than 4 minutes later after
getting his own rebound past Theodore for his fourth goal in his
last six games.

It was a hard-hitting game from the start.

Montreal's Sylvain Blouin knocked Jeff Daniels hard into the
boards less than 3 minutes in to set the tone. Blouin was given a
5-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct when he hit Cole
from behind later in the period.

"It was definitely the most intense, physical game we've played
this year -- on both sides,'' McKay said. "They were taking the
body and we were taking the body.''

Carolina's power play, which scored three times in a 4-2 win
over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, was 0-for-5.

Game notes
Gilmour's two assists moved him within 51 of 1,000 for his
career. ... Donald Audette, who has yet to score for the Canadiens,
was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... O'Neill had
four goals and nine assists during his point streak. ... Carolina C
Josef Vasicek has missed the last seven games with a bad back.