Well, that was refreshing.
After a blowout preseason victory that was way more exciting that it perhaps should have been, the Habs are home and ready to take on the Hurricanes for the second straight day.
While the Canadiens did a lot of their damage last night courtesy of players who will still be on their roster in October, the team will be further bolstered by the likes of Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, and Rene Bourque, who will each participate in a live game for first time in 2013-14. Expect this trend to continue, as the Canadiens roster rounds into form ahead of a regular season opener that is but nine days away.
As two thirds of the Canadiens top line, and their power-play quarterback, take to the ice and shake off the cobwebs, some of the Canadiens skaters will begin to feel increasing pressure. For some contributors, such Mike McCarron and Charles Hudon, their return to the CHL is almost a foregone conclusion. For others, like Michael Bournival, Sebastian Collberg, and any of the Canadiens young defencemen, the clocking is ticking on their chance to make an impression and earn one of a limited number of roster spots.
With an underwhelming performance against the Bruins on Monday, Carey Price and the rest of his teammates looked totally unlike the group that overwhelmed Carolina last night. While Price did not participate yesterday, looking on while Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski shared a Quebec City shutout, he will be back between the pipes this evening. The Canadiens organizational depth chart, at the goaltending position, is as permanent as P.K. Subban's name on the dressing room wall at the Bell Centre, so Dustin Tokarski will dress fully aware that his destiny lies in Hamilton.
The Hurricanes will once again dress a strong semblance of their regular season roster, with only the absence of Alexander Semin being particularly noticeable. All three of the Carolina Staals will be in the lineup tonight, with Eric looking to build on his performance in Quebec City. Eric Staal was one of few bright spots for Carolina last night, using his skill and strength to take all sixteen shots recorded by the Hurricanes, according to this preseason box score. After being shelled to the tune of .666 save percentage, Cam Ward gets the night off tonight, with the 'canes deploying the duo of Anton Khudobin and Justin Peters.
Stay tuned for starting lineups and a game thread as we near 7:00 PM ET.