GAME: Montreal Canadiens (11-11-2-1) at Carolina Hurricanes (7-10-7-1).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Montreal Canadiens try to extend their unbeaten streak to a season-high
four games when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes in the opener of a
Montreal, in the midst of five straight games against Southeast Division
opponents, opened December with a 3-2 victory at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Jan Bulis scored a power-play goal with 77 seconds left in regulation and
captain Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, 2-0-1 in their
last three. Montreal opened the season with a season-opening three-game win
Jose Theodore stopped 25 shots for his 100th victory.
"It feels good, but it's more the two points," Theodore said. "I was
aware of it the last couple of games -- I saw it on TV -- but it's not something
I was really looking forward to. I was looking at the standings and we needed
Although he may not be able to match the form he displayed in 2001-02 when
he won the Hart and Vezina Trophies, Theodore is having a much better season
than he did in 2002-03, when he finished with a 2.90 goals-against average. His
current GAA is 2.39.
Koivu, sidelined the first four weeks of the season with a knee injury,
scored his first goal in his 12th game.
"I think I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care if I didn't score,"
Koivu said. "The bottom line is that one of my jobs is to bring the offense
and produce. I don't think that I've played that bad, but I haven't been able
to get the results."
Carolina gained a point for the third time in four games with 2-1 loss in
overtime to surging Nashville on Wednesday.
"We're still upbeat," captain Ron Francis said. "We went out and played a
good game, but that's going to happen on certain nights. You'll play well
enough to win and you don't."
Francis scored in the third period for the Hurricanes, 2-1-0-1 following a
five-game winless streak.
While production from Koivu is imperative if the Canadiens are to succeed
this season, the same can be said for Jeff O'Neill and the Hurricanes.
O'Neill, coming off three straight 30-goal seasons, has no goals in seven
games and just two in 25 contests.
The Canadiens and Hurricanes meet again Saturday at Montreal.