With the Habs’ streak of games with at least one point coming to an end Tuesday in Long Island, the Canadiens (14-5-4) are in Carolina to face the Hurricanes (13-8-1) Thursday night looking to start another string of 11 games with at least 1 point earned. The game is set to start at 7:00 and airs on RDS and TSN-Habs.
Thursday is the second of three meeting between the Habs and the Canes and the only one this season in Carolina. The last time these teams faced off Peter Budaj made 17 saves to lead the Canadiens to a 3-0 victory.
What to Watch:
Michael Ryder seems to have found a bit of a groove with the Habs, he picked up assists on all 3 Montreal goals in Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders. Carey Price has had a couple of rough starts in a row, allowing 12 goals against in his last 2 games. Price will be looking to bounce back Thursday.
Odd as it seems, PK Subban is quietly having a good season. That’s not to say it’s odd for PK to perform, but odd for him to do it quietly. Subban has points in 6 of his last 7 games. He has 2 goals and 5 assists, including 6 power play points over that span.
Although the Canadiens’ streak has come to an end, the Canes are in the midst of a streak themselves. Carolina has won four straight and find themselves comfortably at the top of the Southeast division. Eric Staal and Alex Semin have led the way for the Hurricanes, they both picked up 9 points in the last four games, with Staal earning 3 goals and 6 assists and Semin scoring a pair to go along with 7 helpers.
What’s at Stake:
While both these teams are at the top of their divisions, the Hurricanes are much more stable than the Habs. Montreal is just one point ahead of the Bruins with Boston holding 3 games in hand. Toronto is also in the mix sitting two points back of the Canadiens.
The Habs currently have the third most points in the league, they’re only 13 points behind the Blackhawks in the Presidents’ Trophy race.
The Habs are still missing Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz, both out with concussions. Petteri Nokelainen (back) is out as well.
The Hurricanes are without starting goalie and former Conn Smythe winner, Cam Ward (knee). Ward suffered an MCL sprain in Sunday’s game against the Panthers, he could miss the rest of the season. Chad Larose suffered a concussion that game as well, while Joni Pitkanen (lower body) was injured on Saturday also against the Panthers. Tuomo Ruutu (hip) is also missing.
Thursday is game three of the Habs’ five game road trip as the team makes its way south along the coast. The Canadiens will follow up Thursday’s game with contests against two more Southeast division teams, the Lightning and the Panthers. Montreal is currently 6-0-0 against Southeast teams this season, they’ve outscored teams in that division by a margin of 19 goals to 8, not including the shoot out winning goal scored against the Lightning in their 4-3 victory over the Bolts.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren.