CANADIENS (19-5-3) at HURRICANES (8-13-4)
TV: TVA Sports, SN, FS-CR
RALEIGH, N.C. -- In the midst of a three-game losing streak, the Carolina Hurricanes have called up three players from Charlotte of the American Hockey League, all of whom will be in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena on Saturday.
Forward Phillip Di Giuseppe will make his NHL debut. Di Giuseppe was selected in the second round (38th) of the 2012 NHL Draft. He has six goals and eight assists for Charlotte. Forward Brock McGinn and defenseman Jacob Slavin each made their NHL debut earlier in the season. McGinn had two goals and an assist in 12 games; Slavin had one assist in six games.
"We need a different look. We weren't very happy with our effort the other night," said Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, referring to the team's 5-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. "We're making some lineup changes and we made as many as we could. Three guys in, three guys out."
The Hurricanes will scratch forwards Kris Versteeg and Riley Nash, who have not scored in 13 and 17 games, respectively. Defenseman Ryan Murphy was sent to Charlotte, one game after returning to the lineup after missing seven games with a concussion.
Peters is counting on the rookies to play key roles, with McGinn skating on the top line and Di Giuseppe on the second.
"They've earned the opportunity to come up," he said. "Phil has been consistent all year. McGinn has been up and we're comfortable with his game. We need some energy. Typically when young guys come into your lineup, they provide youthful exuberance and energy. That's what we need tonight."
While Di Giuseppe would like to replicate McGinn's NHL debut - he scored on his first shift - he plans to keep his game simple.
"Just show them that I'm ready and that I belong here," Di Giuseppe said. "Just speed, taking pucks to the net. When I'm playing my best, I'm rubbing the body out there."
McGinn has followed the Hurricanes' recent struggles, but didn't expect to be called up.
"You're definitely watching up here and seeing how they're doing," he said. "But you don't want that to affect how you're playing down there or get it in your head that you're going to get that chance."
The Canadiens did not have a morning skate. With Carey Price expected to miss six weeks with a lower-body injury, Mike Condon is expected to make his fifth straight start.
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Dale Weise
Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Plekanec - Paul Byron
Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Sven Andrighetto
Daniel Carr - Brian Flynn - Christian Thomas
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry
Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert
Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Carey Price (lower body), Alexander Semin (lower body)
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Devante Smith-Pelly
Brock McGinn - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin
Injured: Nathan Gerbe (ankle), James Wisniewski (left knee)
Scratched: Kris Versteeg, Riley Nash, Michal Jordan
Status report: Carr will make his NHL debut. ... Ward will start in goal, following Lack's loss to New Jersey. Peters said he will hold off on naming a starter for Carolina's game Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Who's hot: Galchenyuk has eight points in the past seven games. ...Pacioretty has five goals in the past nine games...Rask has three goals in the past five games.