[Editorial note, the rest of the Canes Country staff are enjoying a well-deserved holiday from game day coverage so today we’re going with extra stuffing in one humongous big game preview feast. We'll provide updates about the game here as the day progresses.]
Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens
Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 – 7:30 pm ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
Watch: NHL Network - FOX Sports Carolinas - FOX Sports Go app
Listen: 99.9 The Fan - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rival Blog: Eyes on the Prize
|Division Rank||7 Metro||1 Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||12 EC||1 EC|
|Last 10 Games||6-2-2||5-4-1|
|Streak||Won 5||Lost 1|
|ES Corsi For %||53.2%||50.2%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||21.1% (10)||23.4% (4)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||91.8% (1)||81.8% (15)|
|ES Save %||.921||.956|
|ES Save %||-||.917|
- Happy Thanksgiving to all our loyal Canes Country readers. Hopefully you find much to give thanks for today between good food, family and friends, and super fun Hurricanes hockey. Our hockey club has been on quite the tear over the last five games, finding all kinds of ways to win against tough competition, and it won’t get any easier tonight against the league-leading Montreal Canadiens.
- Just six nights ago the Canes and Habs faced off against each other, and despite being out-played for a good portion of the game, the Canes emerged victorious thanks to a three-goal third period outburst. But that was within the friendly confines of PNC Arena, against a Montreal team missing one of their dynamic forwards and with a backup goaltender in net. Tonight they’re at the Bell Centre, where the Canes haven’t won since Feb. 2012, and both Alexander Radulov (here’s a quick glimpse of the damage he can do) and Carey Price will be back and with a vengeance.
- As if Friday’s loss didn’t put the Canadiens in an ornery mood, after getting back in the win column against the Maple Leafs on Saturday, they suffered their first home loss of the season against Ottawa Tuesday night. It was an emotional loss to a division rival in a game they dominated before coughing up a third period lead with two unanswered goals by the Senators. Carey Price, outstanding in net this season, had a not-so-great night, giving up four goals on 23 shots for his first regulation loss. Despite that performance, Price still maintains a .943 overall save percentage and 1.77 GAA, and holds a 13-5-2 record with three shutouts in 20 career appearances against the Canes.
- Tonight the Canadiens will be without defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, after he was hit by a puck to the throat in Tuesday’s game, requiring a precautionary trip to the hospital. Beaulieu was released but there is no timetable for his return; Mark Barberio was recalled to take his place in the lineup tonight.
- Meanwhile, the Canes roll into town winners of five straight, a feat they replicate for the first time since early 2014. They are coming off a win against the Maple Leafs in Toronto Tuesday night thanks to goals from Jeff Skinner and Viktor Stalberg and a team defense that limited the high-scoring Leafs to 26 shots and one goal.
- Welp, on the busiest travel day of the year, head coach Bill Peters decided to close down the TSA line. In Wednesday’s practice at Bell Centre, Teuvo Teravanin was moved off the line with Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho, Skinner taking his place. Stalberg and Brock McGinn also swapped spots. Don’t expect those combinations to be cast in stone, as Peters has shuffled regularly in practice and during games to match up to the opponent. The team is holding an optional skate this morning so final line combinations (defensive pairings probably won’t change) likely won’t be known for certain until warmups.
- Special teams should play a factor tonight. Both teams are ranked in the NHL’s top ten on the power play, and the Canes are killing a league-leading 91.8% of their penalties and haven’t given up a power play goal over their last 10 games and 22 kill attempts. That said, the Canes would be best advised to avoid the penalty box when having to face Shea Weber, who leads the league in power play goals (7) and is tied for the league lead in power play points (10). Of course it wouldn’t be a bad idea to capitalize on a Habs team that is not well-disciplined (10:51 PIM/game) and ranks in the middle of the pack (15th at 81.8%) on the penalty kill.
- Alex Galchenyuk leads the Canadiens in scoring with 21 points (8g, 13a). Jeff Skinner leads the Canes with 16 points (8g, 8a). Both Skinner and Elias Lindholm have points in three straight games. The Canes are 6-0-0 this season in games where Lindholm registers a point.
- Cam Ward is expected to start in net for the eighth straight game. His stellar stats in November have been discussed at length (but as a reminder, 6-1-2, .946 sv%, 1.53 GAA). His win Tuesday moved him ahead of Marty Turco into 39th place all-time in NHL goalie wins (276). He has a 17-11-4 with a 2.70 GAA in 32 career games against the Canadiens.
Rosters and Projected Lineups
(updated based on reports from morning skates on Thursday)
Hurricanes (from practice Weds. 11/23, no changes to lineup reported)
Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Sebastian Aho
Teuvo Teravainen - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Viktor Stalberg - Derek Ryan - Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Brock McGinn
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Matt Tennyson
Injuries and Scratches: Bryan Bickell (IR multiple sclerosis), Eddie Lack (IR concussion), Ryan Murphy (conditioning loan), Andrej Nestrasil (healthy), Klas Dahlbeck (healthy)
Canadiens (updated from morning skate Thurs. 11/24)
Paul Byron - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Radulov
Max Paxioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Phillip Danault - Torrey Mitchell - Andrew Shaw
Charles Hudon - David Desharnais - Chris Terry
Alexei Emelin - Shea Weber
Andrei Markov - Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio - Greg Pateryn
Injuries and Scratches: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body), Brian Flynn (upper body), Artturi Lehkonen (upper body), Zach Redmond (broken foot), Daniel Carr (healthy)
A winning streak that coincides with a trip through Canada makes the timing right for a lot of Canes publicity.
- Jeff Skinner is all over the news.... wise beyond his years [CBC], growing into a role that helps one of the hottest teams in the NHL [The Hockey News], catching up with Mandy Mitchell [WRALSportsFan], and also with friend Michelle McMahon and NHL Now crew [NHL Network].
- More on Skinner, plus Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask as young players stepping up this season [FanRag Sports].
- And then Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, who know how to win with championships on their resumes [The Hockey News].
- Cam Ward is not over-thinking his role these days, he’s just winning [RaleighCo]. How has he answered his critics? By playing his best hockey in half a decade. Hear why Ron Francis decided to keep him [SportsNet].
- Bryan Bickell discusses his recent MS diagnosis with Jeremy Roenick and Billy Jaffe [Roenick Life Podcast].
- The Maple Leafs believe they made the right choice picking Mitch Marner over Noah Hanifin, which is nice [Canoe].
- Bill Peters says that out of all the teams hovering around the .500 mark, some will make the playoffs, so why not the Canes? He may be right [The Score].
- On the Canes penalty kill and why it’s been so effective [The First Pass].
- The NHL has released its official list of players who must be protected by teams in the expansion draft due to no-move clauses. Not that it would have made a difference, but Jordan Staal is on the list [SportsNet].
- Among other things, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly speaks briefly on everyone’s favorite topic, the Canes and relocation rumors, on NHL Game Day (13-minute mark) [SiriusXm NHL].
- Congratulations to Triangle Special/Sled Hockey association and the Canes Sled team for their victory in the 2016 Sled Classic tournament hosted by the Nashville Predators Nov. 17-20 [USA Hockey].
- Finally, the Hurricanes were busy this week delivering food to needy families in the local communities. 650 turkeys were delivered to mission efforts in the Triangle and Lumberton as part of the Tickets for Turkeys program, and canned goods were delivered with the Kids ‘n Community Foundation Stock the Pantry Food Drive.