The Hurricanes and Canadiens close out their regular season series today when they meet in Montreal. The Canes have gotten the best of Montreal this season, collecting five points in the previous three games, including winning the past two outings.
All three games have been one-goal affairs, including Carolina's 3-2 win Tuesday that saw the Habs practically break the hinges off the penalty box door. The Hurricanes converted three of 11 power play attempts en route to the victory.
But Montreal is coming off a 4-3 overtime win Saturday against Buffalo, with Alexei Kovalev scoring the game winner — his third consecutive game with a goal after going 19 straight without finding the back of the net, a streak he broke Tuesday against the Canes. Jaroslav Halak earned the win Saturday and will likely play again vs. the Canes since starter Carey Price is still not 100 percent, according to Habs Inside/Out. ***UPDATE: Price will be in net for Montreal, his first start since Dec. 6.
Carolina travels to Montreal after a frustrating 4-2 loss in Boston Saturday. But despite losing, the Hurricanes continued to show better energy and defensive play under new coach Paul Maurice. Cam Ward has started — and played well — in three straight, but chances are Maurice will go to backup Michael Leighton on the second half of back-to-back games.
Sergei Samsonov has been Carolina's best point producer against the Habs, registering a goal and two assists in three games against his ex-team. Captain Rod Brind'Amour is playing his best hockey of the season — his two assists Saturday extended his assist streak to six straight games.
Buffalo's overtime loss to Montreal moved the Sabres one point ahead of Carolina (36 to 35) for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens are currently fifth with 41 points.