Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens
February 7, 2016 - 2:30 pm ET
Bell Centre - Montreal, QC
Fox Sports Southeast - 99.9 FM - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rivals - Eyes On The Prize
|Division Rank||6 Metro||5 Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||10 EC||12 EC|
|Last 10 Games||6-3-1||2-7-1|
|Streak||Won 1||Won 1|
|ES Goals For %||47.0%||49.5%|
|ES Corsi For %||52.8%||53.2%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||16.4% (28)||18.2% (16)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||81.1% (13)||83.4% (7)|
|ES Save %||.912||.913|
|ES Save %||.909||.915|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- "Welcome to rock bottom, Canes fans. Nowhere to go from here but up." That's a quote from the game preview on Dec. 5, 2015, before the 30th ranked Carolina Hurricanes took on the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens. The Canes were coming off a 5-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils in an effort the head coach called emotionally unengaged, so the organization called up a few rookies and scratched more seasoned players in an effort to shake things up. And damned if it didn't work, as the Canes went on to defeat the Habs that night and haven't looked back. Since that night the Canes have amassed a 16-8-4 record and while they're still outside the playoff race looking in, they're at least in the conversation, three points back to a couple of teams with games in hand. More importantly, the Canes are proving that they can play a fundamentally sound puck possession system, young talent on the roster is showing promise, and the team is trending in the right direction for the future.
- Meanwhile, their opponent hasn't fared as well, 6-19-1 during that same time period and finding themselves even further away from post-season contention. After starting the season 9-0, the Canadiens have dropped to 12th in the Eastern Conference and were on a four-game losing streak before snapping it yesterday in a 5-1 home win against the Edmonton Oilers. It was an emotional victory for goaltender Ben Scrivens, winning his first game of the season against the team that traded him on Dec. 28. Tomas Plekanec had a four-point performance (1g, 3a), Tom Gilbert scored his first goal of the season, and P.K. Subban, fresh off an All-Star Game appearance and leading his team with 41 points, also found the score sheet.
- After yesterday's win, head coach Michel Therrien didn't divulge any lineup changes heading into today's game, but with a back-to-back situation, rookie goaltender Mike Condon is expected to get the start in net today. Condon was in net for the 3-2 loss to the Canes in December. Carey Price, on injured reserve with a lower body injury since Nov. 25, skated on Friday but there is no timetable for his return. Update 12:55 pm: Canadiens official twitter feed says no changes to Saturday's lineup, which means Ben Scrivens will get the start in net for the Habs.
- After going up 4-0 on the Jets in the first period Friday, the Canes held on for dear life for the rest of the way before prevailing in a 5-3 win. Andrej Nestrasil had a two-goal night and has five points in his last five games. Jordan Staal has a three-point night with a goal and two assists and has 15 points (5g, 10a) in his last 13 games. Jeff Skinner, who scored two goals including the game-winner against the Habs on Dec. 5, has points in four straight games (2g, 3a).
- Much more will be discussed on this subject over the next few days, but big congratulations are in order for captain Eric Staal, who will play in his 900th career NHL game today. Making his debut at age 18 in his draft year of 2003, Staal leads the Hurricanes in games played since the team moved to Raleigh and is third behind Ron Francis and Glen Wesley in games played for the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise.
- The Canes arrived in Montreal in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and practiced in the afternoon but there were no updates in terms of lineup changes heading into today's game. Cam Ward will likely repeat in net today; he has a 16-10-3 record with a 2.77 GAA in 29 career games against the Canadiens (Eddie Lack has never faced the Habs).
- Remember the early start, 2:30 pm, and the game will be broadcast on FoxSports Southeast (check here for broadcast information for your provider). After the game, the team will remain in Montreal tonight and will have the opportunity to cheer for what may be the second professional sports championship in North Carolina history (we'll celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first one later this week). #KeepPounding
Hurricanes (2/5 vs Jets)
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Jay McClement - Riley Nash
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Jaccob Slavin
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Brett Pesce (IR foot)
Canadiens (2/6 vs Oilers)
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Tomas Fleischmann - Lars Eller - Sven Andrighetto
Brian Flynn - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio - Tom Gilbert
Injuries and Scratches: Carey Price (IR lower body), Paul Byron (IR lower body), Daniel Carr (IR lower body), Nathan Beaulieu (healthy), Greg Pateryn (healthy)
- Canes Gameday Hub [CH.com].
- If they're going to remain successful, the Canes must learn how to protect a lead [Today's Slapshot].
- Check out Eddie Lack's sweet new black gear [Instagram].
- An inside look at the fancy appointments of the Canes hotel in Montreal, courtesy of Michal Jordan [twitter].
- Rumor has it Carey Price is suffering from an MCL sprain [Today's SlapShot], and with the Habs falling in the standings, perhaps it's time to shut him down and let him heal [HabsEOTP].
- I haven't found an easily translated article or video yet, but former Hurricane Joni Pitkanen logged 20 minutes TOI in his return to game action last night for Kärpät Oulu. As a reminder, that's Sebastian Aho's team [twitter].
- The Canes are cheering on the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 [CH.com] and making a few predictions [video].
- Finally, from one Cam to another. One is already a champion, the other is on his way.
On behalf of @36wine good luck @CameronNewton & @Keep_Pounding! Cheers, Cam Ward. #Cam2Cam #KeepPounding #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/x5v4bEBoXa— Vineyard 36 (@36wine) February 6, 2016