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Game Day - Hurricanes - December 29

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens hit the ice at PNC Arena on Monday morning ahead of their first tilt back from the Christmas break, against the Hurricanes. All players participated in the game day skate.

- As confirmed by Michel Therrien on Sunday, Carey Price will get his 30th start of the season, becoming the fifth netminder in the league to crack the 30 games played mark in 2014-15. He could also become the third goaltender in the NHL to hit the 20-win plateau this season with a victory over Carolina.

- After breaking his fibula on September 23 against the Sabres, Jordan Staal will make his season debut on Monday night against the Habs and is expected to play on a line with his brother, Eric, and Nathan Gerbe.

“They’re two big bodies, good skaters and they’ve got good shots,” explained Dale Weise on the challenge of facing a double-Staal line. “That’ll be a tough line to handle. You just need to try to take away their time and space as best you can.”

- With the potential of reclaiming their spot atop the division with a win in Carolina, the Habs know how important two points are any time of the year, but they also aren’t putting too much emphasis on the standings heading into their 36th game of the season,

“We take a peek at the board, but the key is to focus on ourselves,” confirmed Lars Eller, whose team is currently riding a two game win streak. “You don’t want to fall into the pit of looking at where other teams are. We want to be on top of our division and I think we belong up there. But at the same time, every night is a battle. We know Carolina is at the bottom of the standings, but it’s not going to be an easy game tonight.”

- With just 32 man games lost to injury this season, the Canadiens have been the healthiest team in the NHL to date, giving Therrien plenty of options when it comes to icing his game time lineup. After rotating Michael Bournival and Sven Andrighetto through reps on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise, the coach confirmed that Andrighetto would get the call to suit up against Carolina.

“It depends on the game, but a guy like Andrighetto or a guy like Weise can help. If you’re trailing, you can move Andrighetto to a more offensive line. If you’re leading, you can use a guy like Weise in a more defensive role,” explained Therrien, whose other healthy scratches include Bryan Allen and Mike Weaver. “That’s how I look at my choices when it comes to that line.”

Projected Lines and D pairings

Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Desharnais-Plekanec-Parenteau
Sekac-Eller-Prust
Andrighetto/Bournival-Malhotra-Weise

Markov-Subban
Beaulieu-Gonchar
Emelin-Gilbert
Allen-Weaver

SEE ALSO: 
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Hurricanes
Sergei and the Kid
Notebook: December 27
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