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Gameday: Hurricanes at Canadiens

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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MONTREAL – Bonjour de Montréal!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s 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 the day rolls on.

A preview of tonight’s game and a look at Justin Shugg’s NHL debut can be found below. The Hurricanes will be on the ice at Bell Centre for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate. Check back here then for roster notes, quotes and plenty more!

Last updated: 11:30 a.m.



LINES, NOTES AND QUOTES FROM THE CANES MORNING SKATE
11:30 a.m.

The Hurricanes took to the Bell Centre Ice for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate. Here's what the forward lines looked like:

Gerbe-E. Staal-Dwyer
Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Terry-Nash-Boychuk
Malone-(J. Staal)-Shugg

Don't get too excited -- Jordan Staal is not playing tonight. He did, however, fill in on line rushes for the missing Jay McClement. Defenseman John-Michael Liles also missed the skate. Both players are dealing with gastrointestinal issues, per Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters, and are game-time decisions.

"It's something that just came up, but hopefully we have them both," Peters said.

Should neither be able to play, the Canes will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with the seventh defenseman skating as a forward.

Cam Ward will get the start in net, his 19th of the season. Ward is 15-8-3 with a 2.75 goals-against average in 26 career games against Montreal.

Some more quotes from Peters:

On snapping the losing skid: "We're in every game, but we have to find a way to make that one more play to make a difference."

On the newly-formed top-six forward groupings: "Gerbs has played real good here recently. It's a line that can play with some tempo and pace and get pucks in behind guys to wear them out in the offensive zone. That's what we need out of that line right now. It balances out with Victor, who has been dangerous offensively, and Skinny and Lindy."



BONJOUR!
10:30 a.m.




SHUGG TO MAKE NHL DEBUT
6:00 a.m.

Justin ShuggIt’s a tale that never gets old no matter how many times it’s told: the story of a player making his National Hockey League debut.

Justin Shugg, recalled on Monday, will be the latest Hurricane to accomplish that feat on Tuesday in Montreal. And as a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Shugg will have friendly faces in the otherwise partial Bell Centre crowd.

“Fortunately enough for me, I’m going to have a lot of family members that will be able to watch my first NHL game,” he said after practicing with the Hurricanes on Monday morning.

FULL STORY ›



BACK ON THE ROAD
6:00 a.m.

HURRICANES vs. CANADIENS
Hurricanes at Canadiens
BELL CENTRE | 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
SHUGG TO MAKE NHL DEBUT IN MONTREAL
VIDEOS
RINK REPORT: DEC. 15
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Following a brief stay in Raleigh in the latter half of the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes are back on the road in Montreal to round out a three-game stint away from home.

In their first of two voyages to Montreal this season, the Hurricanes will be looking to snap a season-long five-game losing streak, a stretch in which they have netted just one goal in each game.

Breaking out of the funk is both a physical and mental challenge, head coach Bill Peters said after practice in Raleigh on Monday.

“I thought we played hard in Tampa, and I thought we had a little bit of a hangover from the way that game ended that carried over into Philly,” he said. “You have to keep your mind right, choose your attitude and work hard. You have to work.”

So, that’s what the team did in practice and Peters liked what he saw.

“I thought the guys were real good,” he said. “I thought the energy was good, and the day off came at the right time.”

Now it’s about replication in a game situation. The Canadiens are in the midst of a five-game homestand, and they’ve outscored their opponents (Vancouver and Los Angeles) by a 9-3 margin in the first two games. Dating back to prior to Thanksgiving, Montreal is 3-5-1, but they currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 40 points.

If recent history is any indicator, tonight’s game should be a closely-fought battle. 11 of the last 22 meetings between the teams have been decided by just one goal, including five of the last 11 in Montreal. Additionally, eight of the Hurricanes’ last 11 games, win or loss, have also been one-goal decisions.

With the Canes’ forwards corps a little banged up – Alexander Semin (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (upper body) and Jiri Tlusty (upper body) all remained in Raleigh for further treatment – Justin Shugg will make his NHL debut tonight.

“It’s exciting and a dream come true,” Shugg said after Monday’s practice. “It’s a feeling that guys in my shoes in the past understand. A lot of emotions that words can’t describe.”

“He was good early in camp,” Peters said on Monday. “He played in the Buffalo [preseason] game and had some good looks. He’s a guy who’s playing well down there and deserved the opportunity to come up. He’ll play tomorrow, and we’ll see how it goes.”

NOTES: Montreal’s roster includes former Hurricanes Bryan Allen and Manny Malhotra. … After posting the primary assist on Eric Staal’s second-period goal in Philadelphia, Jeff Skinner is one point shy of 200 in his career.



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