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Kaberle scores winner in first game back as Hurricanes down Habs 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Montreal Canadiens goaltender David Aebischer makes the save off Carolina Hurricanes Ray Whitney during first period NHL action Tuesday, in Montreal. (CP/Paul Chiasson) Author: The Hockey News

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Kaberle scores winner in first game back as Hurricanes down Habs 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Justin Williams also scored and Cam Ward made 25 saves for the Hurricanes (26-22-7), who won for only the second time in eight games to jump past the idle Tampa Bay Lightning into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Alex Kovalev scored the lone goal for the Canadiens (29-20-6), who have lost three of their last four games.

David Aebischer got his third start in the last four

games for Montreal and was solid in making 32 stops.

Kaberle missed the first 55 games of the season while recovering from back surgery. He made a grand entrance by scoring the winner at 10:52 of the third on the power play.

Canadiens owner George Gillett attended the game but did not speak to reporters after the announcement Tuesday morning that he and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks are purchasing Liverpool FC of the English Premiership.

There was no evidence of a sudden turn of allegiance to Liverpool by the sellout Bell Centre crowd of 21,273, many of whom came dressed in Canadiens jerseys.

But the crowd did remember to boo Williams every time he touched the puck - and also when he was named the game's first star - as Montreal fans haven't forgotten his high-stick that hit Canadiens captain Saku Koivu in the eye during last year's playoffs.

Koivu missed the rest of the first-round series and the Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup while Koivu's vision is still impaired because of the injury.

The Canadiens played their second straight game with wingers Sergei Samsonov and Alexander Perezhogin sitting out as healthy scratches. Samsonov - who signed a two-year, $7.05 million contract with Montreal in the off-season but has only seven goals and 15 assists in 52 games - was placed on waivers Tuesday by the Canadiens after his agent Neil Abbott went public with a trade demand.

With the game tied 1-1 midway through the third

period, Koivu took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone that proved costly for the Canadiens. Kaberle used a perfect Williams screen to beat Aebischer with a shot from the point for his first of the season and Carolina's second power play goal of the game at 10:52 of the third.

After a scoreless first period with very little action, Williams opened the scoring on the power play early in the second when he walked out from behind the net and rifled a wrist shot over Aebischer's glove hand for his 27th goal of the year at 2:26.

Kovalev tied it up 1-1 just over two minutes later, one-timing an offensive zone faceoff win by Tomas Plekanec past Ward for his 13th of the season and first in seven games at 4:45.

Notes: Hurricanes winger Cory Stillman did not come out for the third period with what the team called a lower body injury . . . Canadiens D Andrei Markov missed his second game with a knee injury. Janne Niinimaa took his spot in the lineup . . . Canadiens C Radek Bonk played his 800th career NHL game.

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Kaberle scores winner in first game back as Hurricanes down Habs 2-1