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Gameday: Hurricanes at Canadiens

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

MONTREAL - Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's turkey day match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

As your homes are filled with the aromas of delectable Thanksgiving cuisine, the Canes will be on the ice at Centre Bell for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate. We'll be rinkside, as always, to bring you the latest in lineup notes, quotes and more.

Last updated: 3:25 p.m.

3:25 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

1. Make the 50/50 Battles 70/30

Coming out of the corners with the puck and making sure Montreal doesn't spent time in the offensive end will slow the Habs transition attack. Sustained pressure in the attack zone is what the Canes did so well in the third period in Raleigh on Friday that led to the comeback.

2. Total Team D

The team defense has been the calling card of this five-game winning streak. Every player is going to have to keep the commitment up against a team that can create offense in a hurry. 

3. Get in Front of Price

Setting screens in front of Carey Price is a must, not just for the fact it makes it difficult for him to track the puck, but when a rebound is there, a Hurricanes player has to be there to gather it. Price rarely gets beat on the first shot without traffic, so get to the spots on the ice where he has to contend with the puck and a screen.

12:45 p.m.

While a handful of Hurricanes were on the ice for an optional morning skate, head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media in Montreal. Here are some highlights.

On the Canes' winning streak: "We've done a lot good things here recently. We did a lot of good things early in the year, just not on a consistent basis. Now we're able to do them for 60 or 65 minutes, whatever it takes on a given night. Better contributions throughout the lineup. All three pairs on the back-end are very solid. We play everybody, and we're not worried about match-ups."

On Cam Ward's November: "He handles the puck well. When we play well in front of him and give him structure, he's very good. He's a very capable goaltender. He's been very good in November, and it coincides with our team game."

On the last meeting between these two teams: "You go back to that game and through 40, there wasn't a lot cooking for us. We didn't have much going, and we're well aware of that. ... We were able to dig in and find a way for 20 minutes. That recipe tonight won't work. We've got to be better than we were back home."

On how to beat Canadiens goaltender Carey Price: "If he sees it, he stops it. It's that simple. If you think you're blowing it by him from 40-45 feet, you're in a fantasy land. You better get the puck to the net, get bodies to the net, find seconds and thirds and get some greasy goals."

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: ����

6:00 a.m.

Based on Wednesday's practice, the Hurricanes will tweak their forward lines again. Defensive pairings should remain consistent, and Cam Ward will again get the start in net.




6:00 a.m.

This Thanksgiving, the Carolina Hurricanes will be thankful if they can extend their season-long winning streak to six games when they face off with the Montreal Canadiens.

Tonight's game marks the second time in seven days in which the Canes will square off with the top team in the Eastern Conference. Last Friday in Raleigh, the Hurricanes trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes and scored three consecutive goals in the third period to edge Montreal, 3-2.

"I thought they were the better team through 40 minutes. They were all over us and limited us in our shot total," head coach Bill Peters said, referencing the fact that his team had just eight shots on goal through two periods. "We made a few adjustments, played better in the third and found a way to gut one out."

And tonight?

"More of the same," Peters said he expected. "We've got to be better than we were at home."

That win over Montreal was the Canes' third in a series of what is now five straight. After winning the last four games in their five-game homestand, Carolina took the streak on the road and extended it against Toronto in a 2-1 win on Tuesday. Special teams was the difference in that game, with Jeff Skinner tying the game on the power play and Viktor Stalberg scoring the game-deciding goal shorthanded.

"We're getting better contributions throughout the lineup. Before, we had one or two lines going. Now we've got all four going," Peters said when asked about the consistent thread of this streak. "We're playing the game the right way, playing hard, playing unselfishly and for each other. We've received good goaltending. That's a good recipe for success."

Cam Ward has been the steady constant for the Hurricanes, not only through this now 13-day streak but also throughout the entire month of November. Ward is 6-1-2 in the month with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. The NHL's second star of the week has allowed just 14 goals on 257 shots faced in nine games.

"He's been outstanding," Peters said. "He's making some timely saves when we need him to. We do break down a little bit more than we'd like, but hopefully we can clean that up as we move forward."

Montreal is coming off a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators at home on Tuesday night, but they still sit atop the Eastern Conference with 30 points (14-4-2) in 20 games.

"Our focus is primarily on ourselves. We'll get dialed in on Montreal later today and through the evening," Peters said. "We'll have a real good idea what we're up against. They're a deep team, and they've got good speed throughout the lineup."

CANESPR NOTES: Both Jeff Skinner (2g, 1a) and Elias Lindholm (1g, 2a) have points in three straight games. Skinner leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 16 points (8g, 8a) in 17 games played. … The Canes' penalty kill is a perfect 22-for-22 in the last 10 games, and at 91.8 percent on the season, it ranks first in the league.




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