The Final Stretch: Hurricanes at Canadiens, Game Day Preview

The Carolina Hurricanes, (32-35-9) are making their final trip north of the border this season as they visit the Montreal Canadiens, (37-31-8) for a match tonight at the Bell Centre.  This will be the first of a back-to-back situation for the Canes as they travel to Ottawa for another game tomorrow night. 

The Habs were in a good position to be in the playoffs last week, but have not clinched yet and the race is tightening.  Robert, at Habs Eyes on the Prize, has a good analysis this morning about the team's chances.  The Canadiens are 1-2-2 in their last five games.

The Hurricanes are 2-2-1 in their last five contests and are coming off a solid win in Atlanta on Monday night.  Cam Ward made his debut of sorts in that game, his first work in regulation after missing 18 games due to a back injury, and he played very well.  It is expected that he will start again tonight.

The rest of the Carolina lineup should remain the same as it has been in recent games.

Will Paul Maurice continue to mix the lines, looking for some chemistry?  These are the fowards.

Staal, Whitney, Cole, Jokinen, Sutter, Boychuk, Dwyer, Bowman, LaRose, Brind'Amour, Samsonov, Kostopoulos.

The defense should also remain unchanged.

Pitkanen, Pothier, Harrison, Carson, McBain, and Rodney.

The Hurricanes usually fare well in the Bell Centre and have not lost in regulation there since December 6, 2003.  But the Habs are 2-0 against the Canes this season as they beat them earlier this year in a shootout in Montreal and won 5-1 in Raleigh back in December.   

The game will be telecast by FS Carolinas starting at 7.  We will have the infamous open game thread up and running at 6:30.

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If you have not seen it, you may want to check out a recent N&O article about Brandon Sutter here

Also, a friend of Canes Country, Sean Mitton of the Canadian Expat Network, recently interviewed former Canadien great, Yvan Cournoyer.  You can check that out on You Tube, here.

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