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Canadiens-Hurricanes Preview @NHLdotcom
Canadiens-Hurricanes Preview

GAME: Montreal Canadiens (21-18-6) at Carolina Hurricanes (32-11-4).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

Already owners of the best home record in the NHL this season, the Carolina Hurricanes hope to win a franchise-record eighth consecutive home game as they host the Montreal Canadiens.

Carolina is 21-4-1 at the RBC Center, where it has won 12 of its last 13 games. Its current seven-game home winning streak has equaled the franchise record established in Hartford from March 16-29, 1985.

The Hurricanes had matched another franchise record recently with a nine-game winning streak, which came to an end Saturday in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Caitals. It was just the third time in their last 21 games the Hurricanes did not record a point and their first loss in regulation since Dec. 28.

Despite playing against the worst penalty-killing team in the league, the Hurricanes failed to score on any of their nine power-play chances.

"Our power play wasn't working," captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "They capitalized on their opportunities, and we didn't."

Erik Cole scored on a short-handed penalty shot in the third period, and Brind'Amour added his 21st goal of the season two minutes later.

Cole has a career-long six-game points streak with four goals and four assists over that span.

Carolina was without Cory Stillman for a second straight game due to a torso injury and called up forward Keith Aucoin on Sunday from Lowell in the AHL. Aucoin, 27, was leading Lowell in goals, assists, points and power-play goals.

Goaltender Martin Gerber had 22 saves against the Capitals and is 6-1 in his last seven starts with a 2.68 goals-against average. The third-year goalie has won both his starts against the Canadiens.

The Canadiens have scored just five goals in their last three road games and allowed six in the first 13:47 of Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

It was the 15th road loss in the last 16 games for the Canadiens, who are 1-12-3 in that span while being outscored 61-34. Montreal has lost six straight road games since a 4-3 win Dec. 28 at Tampa Bay.

"Once we got down a couple of goals I think we went into shock and at that point, really the game tonight was over," said Bob Gainey, who is 2-2 as Montreal's interim coach. "Our team stumbled hard early in the game, and really by the 5-minute mark of the first period the outcome of the game was established."

Michael Ryder scored his team-leading 20th goal and had an assist against the Canucks. Ryder has a four-game scoring streak against the Hurricanes with two goals and three assists in that span.

Jose Theodore was pulled after giving up five goals on 11 shots. Cristobal Huet replaced Theodore and gave up a goal on the second shot he faced, just 30 seconds after Theodore was yanked.

After getting off to a great start this season, Theodore has struggled. The nine-year veteran started the season 10-3-1 with a 2.90 GAA, and has since gone 6-10-4 with a 3.52 GAA.

Theodore is 11-7-3 with a 2.24 GAA lifetime against the Hurricanes.

STANDINGS: Canadiens - 48 points, 4th place, 20 PB, Northeast Division. Hurricanes - 68 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Ryder, 20 goals; Saku Koivu, 23 assists and 35 points; Steve Begin, 93 PIM. Hurricanes - Eric Staal, 30 goals and 61 points; Stillman, 34 assists; Mike Commodore, 86 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canadiens - Power play: 18.9 percent (50 for 265), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (229 for 282), 19th. Hurricanes - Power play: 18.9 percent (59 for 312), 9th. Penalty killing: 80.5 percent (211 for 262), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Theodore (16-13-5, 0 SO, 3.27 GAA); Huet (2-3-1, 0, 2.77). Hurricanes - Gerber (23-8-2, 3, 2.76); Cam Ward (9-3-2, 0, 3.62).

SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 31; Hurricanes 5-3. At Releigh, N.C., Brind'Amour scored two goals and Gerber made 24 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 7-12-4 on the road; Hurricanes - 21-4-1 at home.

Associated Press
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