This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to today’s matinee puck drop featuring 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.
You can find a preview of today’s game, which is a 2:30 p.m. puck drop, below. If we receive any updates from the team, we will pass them along.Last updated: 3:00 a.m.
STAAL SKATES IN 900th AS CANES VISIT MONTREAL3:00 a.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes will put a bow on a three-game tour of Canada with a Sunday afternoon match-up against the Montreal Canadiens, a game that will mark a games-played milestone for the Hurricanes’ captain.
Eric Staal is set to skate in his 900th career NHL game. Staal, now 31, made his debut as an 18-year-old in 2003 and ranks second in franchise history to Ron Francis in goals (321), assists (451) and points (772) and third in franchise history in games played (899), trailing Francis and Glen Wesley. Staal has skated in all 53 of the Canes games this season and has posted 30 points (9g, 21a).
In Staal’s 900th, the Hurricanes will be looking to parlay their 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets into a post-All-Star streak. On Friday, the Canes jumped all over the Jets early, tallying three goals in 4:33 and taking a 4-0 lead in to the first intermission. It was the second time this season that the Hurricanes had scored four goals in a period (Dec. 8 at DAL) and just the third time in franchise history that the team scored three goals in the first five minutes of a game (Jan. 23, 1988 vs. MIN, Nov. 9, 2010 vs. EDM).
Winnipeg would end up making a game out of it in the third period, drawing within a goal, but Andrej Nestrasil’s second tally in his 100th NHL game restored the Canes’ multi-goal lead en route to their 5-3 win.
Cam Ward returned to the crease in Winnipeg, his first start since Jan. 15 (concussion), and made 33 saves. He also earned the fireman’s helmet, with Riley Nash passing it along to the Canes’ netminder.
On the other side of the ice today is a sliding Montreal club. The Canadiens began the 2015-16 campaign winners of nine in a row and 10 of 12 in October.
When the Hurricanes and Canadiens met for the first time this season on Dec. 5, the Habs were 19-5-3, sitting atop the Eastern Conference with 41 points. The Hurricanes were in the basement of the Eastern Conference with 20 points (8-13-4).
That game was arguably the turning point for either club. Since then (including that victory), Carolina has posted a 16-8-4 record (36 points), vaulting themselves into the wild card picture. The Habs lost 11 of 14 games in December and January wasn’t much kinder. Since that Dec. 5 meeting, they’ve plummeted in the standings, posting a 6-19-1 record. They now sit two points back of the Canes in the wild card chase.CANESPR NOTES:
Jeff Skinner has points (1g, 4a) in four consecutive games. … The Hurricanes have earned at least a point in 23 of their last 38 games against the Canadiens (19-15-4) and have tallied points in 11 of their last 19 games at Bell Centre (9-8-2).
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email