Skip to main content

Hurricanes-Canadiens Preview

NHL.com @NHL

Having built some momentum after beating one the league's hottest teams, the Montreal Canadiens host the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Sheldon Souray scored 2:01 into overtime after Tomas Plekanec stripped the puck from Sidney Crosby and Montreal (29-19-6) defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 on Sunday, snapping the Penguins' six-game winning streak.

"This is a big win and a total team effort," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau told the team's official Web site. "We talked before the game about the importance of taking things one minute at a time, one period at a time.

"Even when we were down 2-1, the effort was still there from everyone and that's what made the difference."

Montreal trailed before Plekanec and Mark Streit scored power-play goals in a 4:49 span early in the third period. The Canadiens, though, couldn't hold it as David Aebischer allowed a power-play tally by Michel Ouellet with less than three minutes left in regulation.

Plekanec finished with two goals and an assist. Nine of his 12 goals this season have come since Jan. 1.

"He played a really excellent game and he's done that over the last few games," Souray said of Plekanec. "He's stepped up offensively and we need that. You look at his two goals, they were just the result of hard work and being in front of the net. He was willing to pay the price, and he got rewarded for it."

The Canadiens could use Plekanec's suddenly surging offense when they face a Carolina team that's scored 29 goals while winning five of the last six games in the regular-season series. The Hurricanes rallied from two games down to defeat Montreal in six games in last season Eastern Conference quarterfinals en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

But Carolina (26-22-7) has struggled lately, losing four in a row and six of its last seven. That slide has dropped the Hurricanes into eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points.

The Hurricanes blew a two-goal lead in their 4-3 overtime loss to Boston on Saturday. Erik Cole scored twice in the first period, but Carolina gave up three consecutive goals to Boston and trailed for most of the third before Rod Brind'Amour's power-play goal with 3:12 left tied it.

But after Eric Staal was called for tripping in overtime, Carolina gave up the game-winner to Zdeno Chara.

"We're not winning. Seems like every time we make mistakes, it's in our net," Brind'Amour said. "We're just not getting the big play when we need it - power play, penalty kill, it's just not happening."

The Hurricanes went 1-for-10 with the man advantage against Boston, and have only converted three of their last 39 power play opportunities, spanning seven games.

Carolina also will visit Boston and Minnesota on a three-game road swing that starts with this contest. The Hurricanes are 12-12-4 on the road in 2006-07.

"It's only a good time for a road trip if you win road games, then it's a good time for a road trip," coach Peter Laviolette told the team's official Web site. "If you lose, it's probably not a great time. I don't have a crystal ball, but again, I've got a ton of confidence in the players that are in that room to go on the road and win hockey games, one at a time."

Carolina and Montreal have split two meetings this season, both in Raleigh, N.C. In their most recent matchup Nov. 30, the Hurricanes got two goals from Cole in a 4-2 win.

View More