Before Carey Price came along, the Hurricanes regularly put a beating on the Habs during the regular season, but since he broke into the league, the teams have been relatively even against each other. Price has a 6-5-1 record against Carolina with a .919 save percentage in his career. But it won't be Price facing the Hurricanes today, as he's still sick with the flu. He is well enough to be on the bench tonight though, so Robert Mayer has been sent back down to Hamilton.
It will be Peter Budaj between the pipes for the Montreal Canadiens tonight for the second straight game. Budaj is coming off of his best game of the season, and first win, on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Surprisingly Budaj has quite the impressive numbers against the Hurricanes in his career with a 1-1-1 record and .935 save percentage.
Good news for the game comes in the form of nearly all the injured and sick Canadiens from last game are good to go for tonight, including Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban. The unfortunate news though, is that Brendan Gallagher will not be playing due to a concussion suffered at the hands of dirtbag Luke Schenn. Ryan White will finally draw back into the lineup in place of Gallagher.
One thing to watch for tonight is the slumping Erik Cole. Cole only scored against his former team once last year, but he was really engaged in every game and seemed to have an extra jump in his step.
The top Hab in last year's season series was P.K. Subban with 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 games, followed by David Desharnais with 1 goal and 2 assists.
For the Hurricanes, there was a 4 way tie with 3 points each for Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty, Jamie McBain, and Brandon Sutter. Sutter is now a Penguin, but an upgrade on him in the form of Jordan Staal now centers the second line for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes' 29th ranked penalty kill could be just the solution the Habs have been looking for, as they've gone 1 for 19 since the second period against Buffalo on February 7th. P.K. Subban has 2 goals and 2 assists on the Canadiens last 4 powerplay goals, but the unit hasn't been producing as many scoring chances with him out there as they were at the beginning of the season, as Olivier pointed out yesterday. It's an interesting conundrum because his talent there is obvious.
The Canadiens catch a big break with Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, and Tim Gleason all out for the Hurricanes due to injury tonight.
Interestingly, the Canadiens are undefeated this year against teams outside their division, holding a 7-0-0 record. The Hurricanes meanwhile, have most of their damage this season against the Northeast Division, holding a 6-1-0 record.
For some perspective from the opposing side, check out Canes Country.