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High-flying Canadiens play host to Hurricanes

by Magalie Lafreni?re
HURRICANES (8-8-0) at CANADIENS (10-5-1)


Last 10 --
Carolina 5-5-0; Montreal 7-3-0

Season series --
This is the first of four meetings between the two clubs. The Hurricanes and the Canadiens split last season's games. Brandon Sutter had 3 goals in the series, while Eric Staal picked up a hat trick in their most recent matchup on April 8, a 5-2 victory for Carolina.

Big story -- The Hurricanes had their scoring bubble burst in Raleigh Thursday night, allowing eight goals to be scored on them. In their previous four games they had scored at least three goals, which included a 7-1 win over the Oilers Tuesday.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, have been rolling in their last two, securing wins against big opponents in the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins and are currently third in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes --
"We were embarrassed on our home ice," Staal said, summing up his team's 8-1 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. While the Hurricanes outshot the Flyers 36-26, they found the back of the net just once, on a third-period goal by Chad LaRose. By this time however, the Flyers had been already up 5-0.

Cam Ward was pulled 5:58 into the second after Flyers forward Jeff Carter completed a hat trick and after Ward had allowed four goals on 13 shots. His replacement, Justin Peters, didn't fare any better, as he too allowed four goals on 13 shots in the final 34 minutes.

"It's disappointing, because that hasn't happened to us," coach Paul Maurice said. "We've had some tough nights but stayed in the fight, I thought, pretty good, and tonight, we didn't."

Canadiens -- A 34-save night by Carey Price and a resurrected power play helped the Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Bruins Thursday night. The Canadiens scored twice with the extra man. The first, scored in the opening period, was P.K. Subban's first NHL goal scored in the regular season.

"I didn't know what to do. I mean, usually when I score, I do something embarrassing anyways so I won't hear the end of it," Subban said. "We've been winning, so that is the most important thing. But obviously it is a relief. We need power-play goals too, so it is just good that I can put our team up one nothing. On the road it is always a relief when you can get that early goal. So, happy I got it."

Brian Gionta scored the second power-play goal -- the eventual game-winner -- 29 seconds into the third period. Scott Gomez added an insurance goal midway though the third. It was a long time coming for Gomez, who hadn't lit the lamp since the Habs' second game of the season.

"Special teams were the difference in the hockey game," coach Jacques Martin said. "I think that our two power-play goals for us and our penalty killing did an outstanding job -- and our goaltending was strong again."

Who's Hot -- Besides the hot glove of Price, Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Roman Hamrlik and Gionta are all riding three-game point streaks for the Canadiens. … Joni Pitkanen has three points in his last two games and LaRose has a goal in his last two for the Hurricanes. And while Staal was held scoreless on Thursday, he had 6 points in his previous two games.

Injury Report --
It will be two complete healthy squads facing each other on Saturday in Montreal.

Stat Pack --
Ward has a better record at the Bell Centre than at any other opponent.  He has a goals-against average of 1.55 and is 6-0-1 career.

Puck Drop --
When Subban was approached by the media Thursday night to chat about his goal, he instead tried turned their attention elsewhere:

"What about the Vezina candidate, did you guys already talk to him," asked Subban.

Price has been showing the hockey world why he was taken with the fifth pick at the 2005 Entry Draft. Every game he continues to wow the spectators and his teammates alike.

But Price will be busy Saturday with a Hurricanes team looking to redeem itself.

"We've got some responding to do here, for ourselves and just in our own room," Maurice said. "They've got to look each other in the eye and have some self respect. After a performance like (Thursday) night, I do think that energy is going to be what we're looking for, more than anything.

"They're (Canadiens) going to come both barrels because they're coming off a big win in Boston, it's a Saturday night and the crowd is going to show their appreciation to that team early. We've got something to prove and they're feeling good, so it should be a dandy."

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