It’s not the four games in 16 days that the Canes-Flyers series was this season, but we’ve still seen an awful lot of Montreal early in the season.
The teams play their third game of the season series tonight (the Canes are currently 1-0-1), with the fourth coming at Montreal this coming Sunday. The Habs aren’t quite what they were the first time the two teams met in October, having posted an average 9-7-4 record since November 1.
Like the Canes have at times this season, Montreal is pointing to low scoring output and problems with the power play as reasons for their recent struggles. In three of their last four games, none of them wins, the Canadiens have only managed to score one goal. Additionally, they only have two power play goals in their last eight, and rank 29th in the league with the man-advantage.
On an idividual basis, Alex Kovalev is taking his share of heat from Montreal fans with zero goals in his last 19 games.
Throw in Cam Ward’s career success against Montreal (7-2-2 and a 2.60 GAA), and the stats suggest there sould be few goals against (side note – obviously a lot of French being spoken among the media at this morning’s skate. I only speak a few words, but the name “Cam Ward” repeatedly emerged from the muddle. They are concerned).
Here’s a first: media from the other team giving an advantage to the Hurricanes based on health! Carey Price, Saku Koivu, Christopher Higgins and Mathieu Dandenault are all out for the Habs. There was talk of Mike Komisarek coming back tonight, but it looks like that won’t happen. He’s been out since mid-November, but as of right now would start in the All-Star game.
As for the Hurricanes health, not to jinx anything, but it’s looking remarkably good at the moment. I actually thought Frank Kaberle had a chance to go tonight based on how he looked at yesterdays’ practice and at this morning’s skate, but that won’t happen tonight. He went through the post-skate scratched players workout along with Wade Brookbank and Anton Babchuk, who is still wearing a non-contact jersey.
Friendly reminder about tonight's toy drive - bring a new, unwrapped toy to the box office before the game and get buy-one-get-one free tickets. Simple as that. You can even win an autographed player jersey.