Rabid Habs

Preview: Habs vs. Hurricanes

Coming off of a sloppy performance against the lowly Detroit Redwings Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens look to extend their division lead over Ottawa in a home-ice tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes

Knowing where the two respective teams presently lie in the standings, Montreal should deal with the Canes rather easily. In fact, the Canadiens remaining schedule should follow this trend, as only one of their nine remaining games is against a team currently in playoff position. However, teams like Carolina enjoy playing the role of spoiler this time of year, and the roster the Hurricanes currently employ should definitely raise a few eyebrows. Players such alike Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner, Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask and Teuvo Teravainen are highly skilled players the Canadiens will need to overcome to earn an important home win.

The last time these two teams went head-to-head was all the way back on the 24th of November. Despite the Habs being outshot 32-22, the Canadiens prevailed with the crucial win. Elias Lindholm scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes while Montreal’s Andrew Shaw and Max Pacioretty scored the decisive goals.

Habs Lineup Changes:

As we wrote yesterday, the Habs shook things up at their morning skate on Wednesday. Expect Alex Galchenyuk to play left wing on the second line, and Philip Danault will centre the top line.

On Wednesday, head coach Claude Julien was unable to confirm who would start in between the pipes against the Canes due to Carey Price not being “100%” after the morning skate.

On Thursday, Julien made it official. Price will get the start tonight against the Canes, while other lineup changes have been made in front of him. Nathan Beaulieu will sit in favor of Brandon Davidson, while Steve Ott and Dwight King tag out for Michael McCarron and Andreas Martinsen.

The Numbers Game:

Montreal Canadiens   Statistic Carolina Hurricanes
41-23-9   Record      31-27-13
  200   GF      186
2.74   GFA      2.62
182   GA      206
2.49   GAA      2.90
7-2-1   L10      6-1-3
MTL 1 DET 2 (OT) Last Game      CAR 4 FLA 3

 

Who’s hot? Who’s cold?

Cold: With the offensive nature of Justin Faulk‘s game, it’s rather odd to see him with a subsided points total over the last month. The St. Paul native’s offensive numbers have been plummeting to treacherous lows. 3 goals and 2 assists are awful points totals for a player of his calibre. It will be imperative for the Canadiens to be vigilant when Faulk is on the ice.

Hot: Jeff Skinner has really turned on his play as of late. Through the span of 10 games, Skinner has successfully racked up 8 goals and 3 assists. If he wasn’t mired with several unfortunate injuries since the 2011-12 season, Skinner would’ve surely trumped his career high of 31 goals he set in his rookie campaign. It’s safe to say the Toronto native will most definitely exceed his current career high. Skinner has 28 goals in 68 games.

Top 5 point producers (Carolina vs. Montreal)

Carolina:

  1. Jeff Skinner: 28 G – 23 A – 51 P (68 GP)
  2. Sebastian Aho: 21 G – 22 A – 43 P (71 GP)
  3. Jordan Staal: 15 G – 27 A – 42 P (64 GP)
  4. Victor Rask: 16 G – 26 A – 42 P (71 GP)
  5. Elias Lindholm: 9 G – 31 A – 40 P (61 GP)

Montreal:

  1. Max Pacioretty: 33 G – 27 A – 60 P (73 GP)
  2. Alexander Radulov: 15 G – 33A – 48 P (68 GP)
  3. Shea Weber: 16 G- 25 A- 41 P (73 GP)
  4. Alex Galchenyuk: 15 G – 25 A – 40 P (52 GP)
  5. Paul Byron: 20 G – 17 A – 35 P (72 GP)

Game time is 7:30. Follow @rabidhabs on Twitter for more updates, and follow Robert Brown on Twitter @TheStandardBob.