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Canadiens at Hurricanes preview

Aho in spotlight for Carolina; Suzuki to make NHL debut for Montreal

by Kurt Dusterberg / Independent Correspondent

CANADIENS (0-0-0) at HURRICANES (0-0-0) 

7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV


The Game

Sebastian Aho will face the team that courted him during the offseason when the Carolina Hurricanes open their season against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena on Thursday.

The forward signed a five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet by Montreal on July 1. It was matched by Carolina on July 7.

Four players acquired in the offseason will make their debuts with Carolina: forwards Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula and defensemen Jake Gardiner and Joel Edmundson.

Forward Nick Suzuki, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights with the No. 13 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and traded to Montreal on Sept. 10, 2018, is slated to make his NHL debut. 

Montreal defenseman Cale Fleury, a third-round pick (No. 87) in the 2017 draft, is set to make his NHL debut against his brother Haydn Fleury, a defenseman for Carolina. It would mark the first time since April 3, 2017, that brothers faced off as opponents, with one making his League debut -- forward Alexander Nylander debuted with the Buffalo Sabres against William Nylander, a forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Players to watch 

Canadiens forward Max Domi had an NHL career-high 72 points (28 goals, 44 assists) last season.

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal will begin his tenure as captain, replacing Justin Williams, who has stepped away from the NHL this season. Staal served as Carolina's co-captain with Justin Faulk in 2017-18. 


They said it 

"The finish hasn't been at its best, but the chances are there, the entries are better, the loose puck recoveries are better. Right now, I would say if we can get some confidence and finish on those opportunities, our power play should be much better than it was last year." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien

"We brought in quite a few new faces. In the preseason, a couple guys didn't even get to play here at the end. So there's a little uncertainty on how everybody's going to mesh, but there's only one way to find out." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour 


Canadiens projected lineup 

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Max Domi -- Nick Suzuki

Jonathan Drouin -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Joel Armia

Paul Byron -- Nate Thompson -- Jordan Weal

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Ben Chiarot -- Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak -- Cale Fleury

Carey Price 

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Nick Cousins, Mike Reilly, Christian Folin

Injured: None 

Hurricanes projected lineup 

Brock McGinn -- Sebastian Aho -- Nino Niederreiter

Teuvo Teravainen -- Jordan Staal -- Andrei Svechnikov

Ryan Dzingel -- Eric Haula -- Jordan Martinook

Warren Foegele -- Lucas Wallmark -- Martin Necas

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Joel Edmundson -- Brett Pesce

Jake Gardiner -- Haydn Fleury  

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer

Scratched: None

Injured: Trevor van Riemsdyk (shoulder)



Status report 

Van Riemsdyk wore a yellow, non-contact jersey during the morning skate.


Stat pack 

Montreal is 4-0-1 in its past five season openers. … Chiarot will make his Canadiens debut after five seasons with the Winnipeg Jets. … Aho began last season with a 12-game assist streak. … Svechnikov had three goals in three games against the Canadiens last season.

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