The Canes will get a good test tonight from the Montreal Canadiens as they try to build some momentum from Sunday’s shootout win over Tampa Bay.
Montreal has slowed down somewhat since their 7-1-1 start to the season and is just 3-3-1 in November. Part of the reason for that is that their slumping power play (26th in the NHL) has caught up to them. They’re scoreless through their last four games spanning 20 chances.
Still, they have all the tools to make things tough on the Hurricanes
“We certainly respect their team and what they bring,” said Peter Laviolette. “The skill, the skating and the defense – they bring a real well-coached, executed game and that’s why they’re having success this year.
”They’re a good challenge for us. I like the games where we play teams that are on their toes and we’re on their toes – it makes for an exciting brand of hockey.”
Although Carolina lost the previous meeting with the Canadiens on October 28 in a shootout, Laviolette was happy with the showing and will hope for more of the same tonight.
”I like the way we played,” said Laviolette. “I didn’t like the result and I didn’t like the score, but I certainly liked the way we played the game.”
One thing that jumps out when looking at the Canadiens’ tendencies thus far is their ability to protect leads. Montreal is 7-0-1 when scoring first and undefeated when leading after the first and second periods. That could cause the Hurricanes trouble if they continue to give up the first goal, which they’ve done in each of their last three games.
Some Montreal links from the morning:
The Gazette – Montreal trying out new line combinations, Carey Price gets the start in goal and … Patrick Eaves on a five-game scoring streak?
Canadiens.com - Plekanec plays well against Carolina, Cullen is the Canes’ post-Cole Habs-killer
Justin Williams update:
He was on the ice again this morning, skating with extra defenseman Josef Melichar.
”It’s good to see him on the ice,” said Laviolette. “He’s such a good kid and he’s a real good player for us. I still think he’s a ways away, but he can get into that boot and he can skate and his tendon is OK, but it’s going to be a while before the competitive part comes into play.”
“For him, missing all of the end of last year and then coming into camp in tremendous [shape] and really excited and ready to play and then to be knocked out again, he was not very happy. For him to be back in that situation where he’s at least on the ice, feeling his equipment on and the sweat coming off his brow, that’s a real good thing and he’s really positive about it.”