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Canadiens try to halt recent slide vs. Hurricanes

by Adam Kimelman /
CANADIENS (19-13-2) at HURRICANES (15-13-4)

TV -- TSN (HD), RDS (HD), FS-CR (HD)

Last 10 --
Montreal 4-5-1; Carolina 5-3-2

Season series --
This is the second of four games between the teams this season. On Nov. 13, Tomas Plekanec had 1 goal and 3 assists in the Canadiens' 7-2 win in Montreal.

Big Story --
The Canadiens need to rebound after dropping the first two games of their seven-game road trip. The Hurricanes would like to get back to their winning ways after Monday's loss to the Lightning snapped their four-game win streak.

Team Scope:

Canadiens --
Coach Jacques Martin benched Andrei Kostitsyn on Tuesday against Dallas to send a message to his team, but it apparently didn't work as the Habs lost 5-2.

"That's five out of six we've lost, so we have to do a better job of sticking with our game plan," team captain Brian Gionta told the Montreal Gazette. "At times we did a good job and had some chances, but we made little mistakes that cost us."

Gionta said the biggest victim of the team's problems Tuesday was goalie Carey Price, who allowed five goals on 17 shots.

"We have to do a better job of tying guys and not letting them through," Gionta said. "Obviously, it's not his fault. We have to do better job in front of him."

Hurricanes --
The Hurricanes hope to have Cam Ward back in net, but that decision will be up to a dermatologist.

Ward sat out Monday's game against the Lightning due to an infection above his eye. He had some swelling in the area and the fear was having the area rubbed by his goalie mask would make the situation worse. The swelling subsided during the day, and Ward was able to serve as the backup to Justin Peters, but he was scheduled to see a doctor Tuesday.

"We think Cam will be fine in the next day or two," GM Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer.

Who's Hot -- Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri had his seven-game point-scoring streak snapped Tuesday. He had 5 goals and 3 assists in that span. … Hurricanes captain Eric Staal has 5 points in his last four games, and on Monday was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week.

Injury Report -- The only missing Canadien is defenseman Andrei Markov, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. … Besides Ward, who is questionable for Thursday's game, forward Jiri Tlusty has an arm injury and likely won't play. The team has called up Zach Boychuk from AHL Charlotte to replace him.

Stat Pack --
With 16 goals and 33 points in 32 games, Staal is on pace for 41 goals and 85 points; both numbers would be the second-best of his NHL career.

Puck Drop --
With Kostitsyn getting scratched Tuesday, rookie forward Lars Eller played 16:22 on the Canadiens' top line in his place. Skating with Cammalleri and Plekanec, Eller had two shots and a minus-1 rating.

Eller has 2 goals and 6 points in 33 games this season.

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