CANADIENS (22-11-2) @ HURRICANES (10-21-4)
After a few well-deserved days off, the Canadiens return to action on Monday when they hit the ice in Carolina to begin a stretch of four games in six nights with a tilt against the Hurricanes, a club that currently sits last in the Eastern Conference standings.
Michel Therrien’s troops will be looking to pick up their third straight win after besting the New York Islanders 3-1 in their most recent outing back on December 23. Despite giving up the first goal of the game in Long Island, the Canadiens replied with three straight markers of their own courtesy of Andrei Markov, Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais. Carey Price stopped 37 of 38 shots against to register his 19th victory of the year.
The Hurricanes already returned to work following the Christmas break, having gone up against the Lightning on Saturday night. Bill Peters’ contingent dropped a 2-1 decision to Tampa Bay. Andrej Sekera scored Carolina’s lone goal.
While the 2014-15 campaign hasn’t been all that kind to the Hurricanes thus far, they might be in for some good news on Monday night as Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty could return to active duty. Staal has been sidelined since the preseason after suffering a leg injury back in October, while Tlusty has missed the last seven games with an upper-body injury.
Price will make his 30th start of the season on Monday night becoming only the fourth goalie in the NHL to hit that mark this season. Cam Ward will get the start for Carolina. Therrien will field the same lineup that went up against the Islanders. That means that Bryan Allen, Mike Weaver and Michael Bournival will be healthy scratches.
Monday’s game will be the second of three contests between the two teams this season. The Canadiens picked up a 4-1 win on December 16 at the Bell Centre. They’ll meet again in March in Montreal. The Habs have won two of their last three games at PNC Arena, dropping a 5-4 overtime decision back on December 31, 2013 in between those two victories. Carolina has registered six wins and 14 points in 15 outings on home ice in 2014-15. That ranks them 28th in the league in that department.
Sergei and the Kid
Notebook: December 27