The Carolina Hurricanes have managed to hold their own on their longest road trip of the season.
The Hurricanes have a chance to secure a winning record on their six-game road stretch as they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Carolina (4-2-1) won 4-3 against the New York Islanders on Saturday to improve to 2-1-1 on the trip, which concludes at St. Louis on Thursday. The Hurricanes are 3-1-1 on the road this season after going 19-20-2 away from home in 2007-08 en route to missing the playoffs for the second straight season after winning the Stanley Cup in 2006.
The Hurricanes likely welcomed their two-day break between games, especially goaltender Cam Ward, who made 57 saves as Carolina overcame New York's 60-shot effort to win their most recent contest.
"It looked like they were throwing everything at the net," said Ward, who is 2-1-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average. "But it's really not the number of shots that matters - it's the number of good chances, and I think our defense did a great job in clearing out rebounds so there were very few second chances."
Ward is 6-2-1 with a 2.76 GAA versus against Montreal, but could be in for a challenge against the Canadiens (5-1-1), who are coming off their first regulation loss, 6-4 to Anaheim on Saturday.
Chad LaRose scored his first two goals of the season, while Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour each scored their team-leading fourth goals of 2008-09.
Staal has eight goals with eight assists in 16 career games versus Montreal and four goals in his last five contests against the Canadiens. Brind'Amour, meanwhile, has at least one point in his last seven games versus Montreal and nine during that span.
Carolina, which went 2-1-1 versus the Canadiens last season, will be without defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who is sidelined for at least a month after tearing the meniscus in his knee against the Islanders. Rookie center Brandon Sutter is also likely out for this contest after sustaining a concussion Saturday.
After opening with three straight road games, Montreal is 3-1-0 on a homestand that concludes with this contest.
On Saturday, Alex Tanguay had two goals, while Saku Koivu added one and Robert Lang two assists for the Canadiens, who took 52 shots but allowed one more goal than they did in their previous three games combined on the homestand.
"When you do have 50 shots you have to bury a lot more of those," said Tanguay, who has a team-leading five goals in his first season with Montreal.
Andrei Markov recorded an assist Saturday and has at least one in each game this season for a team-leading 10.
"We did some good things but the mental focus wasn't there," said Koivu, who has a goal in four straight games and three in his last four contests versus Carolina. "We weren't as sharp as we were used to being in the last couple of games here."
Carey Price allowed two goals on 13 shots in replacing Jaroslav Halak on Saturday. Price is 3-1-1 with a 2.11 GAA this season and struggled in his only previous start versus Carolina, making 26 saves before being pulled in a 5-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Dec. 8.
LW - Mtl
g: 1 | A: 2
RW - Mtl
g: 1 | a: 1
D - MTL
G: 1 | A: 1