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Sekac, Eller lift Canadiens to 3-1 win over Canes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jiri Sekac and Lars Eller scored second-period goals, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Monday night.

Montreal (23-11-2) has won three straight. Carolina (10-22-4) dropped its second in a row.

Eric Staal, playing in his 800th NHL game, scored a power-play goal for Carolina off an assist from his brother Jordan, who played in his first game since breaking his right leg during a preseason contest on Sept. 23.

Jiri Tlusty, who returned after he missing seven games due to an upper-body injury, also had an assist for Carolina. Cam Ward stopped 16 shots.

Max Pacioretty added an empty-net goal in the final minute, and Carey Price had 28 saves for Montreal. The Canadiens also won the teams’ first meeting 13 days earlier, beating the visiting Hurricanes 4-1.

Sekac scored an unassisted goal from the slot at 6:45 of the second period, putting the Canadiens ahead 1-0 just 15 seconds after he came out of the penalty box.

Eller doubled the lead on a shot from the right circle off Dale Weise’s pass from the corner at 18:45 of the second.

Eric Staal made it 2-1 with a power-play goal 2:59 into the third period when he followed his own shot. Jordan Staal earned an assist.

NOTES: Canadiens C Manny Malhotra, an alternate captain for the Hurricanes last season, played his first game in Raleigh since signing with Montreal in July. … Hurricanes RW Alexander Semin (upper body) missed his third straight game. D John-Michael Liles sat out due to an illness. LW Zach Boychuk was a healthy scratch. … Canadiens D Bryan Allen (illness) and D Mike Weaver (concussion) both missed a sixth straight game. LW Michael Bournival (shoulder) was sidelined for a 14th in a row. … The teams’ third and final meeting of the season will be March 19 at Montreal.

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