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Game Thread: Walking Wounded Habs Host Hurricanes

It's been a year and three days since Andrei Markov bumped into Eric Staal, and then the boards. We know the rest. The Canadiens defenseman is still on the mend, and progressing towards his return. But when that return will be remains unknown.

So who do we have left if another d-man goes down? With Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill both out for the next two games, there will be a very young Canadiens defensive corps facing the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, and the New York Islanders on Thursday. Frederic St- Denis will make his NHL debut tonight.

Adding to the infirmary will be Andrei Kostitsyn, who was placed on the IR today. Some good news that Mike Cammalleri will be back in the lineup, presumably with his regular. Depending on his health though he could play on the third line with Lars Eller and Aaron Palushaj.

We discussed the emergence of Erik Cole, on our last podcast, noting that the Habs winger is proving naysayers wrong and could perform without Staal. In the meantime, Cole's former line mate has just 8 points in 18 games, and is a minus 17 with the Hurricanes while playing on the wing. Staal has 31 points in 26 career games against Montreal.

Cam Ward took a bit of a beating Monday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, but should be the starter tonight. Ward is 12-6-2 (2.70, .914) in his career against Montreal

The Canadiens won last season's regular season series 3-1, backed by a dominating power play that was 8 for 15. Think it shows up tonight? Yeah me too.

Tomas Plekanec had two goals and seven helpers against the Canes in 2010-11.

Celebrity insider: In a brief twitter exchange, actor Jay Baruchel feels Alexei Emelin needs more ice time, and a demotion to the AHL will only send him running back to Russia. Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle tweeted a prediction of a 5-1 Habs win.

Brendan Gallagher is the captain of the WHL squad facing the Russian contingent tonight in Regina.

MONTREAL CANADIENS PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta

Erik Cole - David Desharnais - Max Pacioretty

Travis Moen - Lars Eller - Aaron Palushaj

Scott Gomez - Petteri Nokelainen - Mathieu Darche

Defense Pairings

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban

Frederic St-Denis - Yannick Weber

Alexei Emelin - Raphael Diaz

Goalies

Carey Price - Peter Budaj

PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINEUP

Forwards

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - Eric Staal

Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu

Chad LaRose - Tim Brent - Patrick Dwyer

Jiri Tlusty - Zac Dalpe - Zach Boychuk

Defense Pairings

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason

Tomas Kaberle - Derek Joslin

Jamie McBain - Jay Harrison

Goalies

Cam Ward - Brian Boucher

Hurricanes vs Canadiens coverage

Word from the brewing storm front at Canes Country