In the past four weeks the Canadiens have lost only four times in regulation. Of those four games, only one came at the hands of a team currently in a playoff position. The Habs have steadily been leading the race in the NHL for top team in the league, knocked off the lead by one point last night with a Dallas Stars overtime loss at the hand of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Hurricanes only have eight wins this season and are tied for most regulation and overtime losses with 17 in 25 games. Contrasting this with the Canadiens, who got their ninth win of the season on October 24th, it would seem like the Habs have an easy win in store for them tonight.
This might be true if Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher were in the lineup. What was noticeable on Thursday, despite the numbers of shots and possession the Canadiens had, is that the Habs will have to work really hard to win any game while two of their most impactful players are healing up, and limit their mistakes to almost nothing.
Mike Condon has only allowed 9 goals on 111 shots since taking over for Carey Price at the start of the third period in New York. In four full games since coming back into the starting goaltender position, Condon has .918 save percentage and a record of 2-1-1. He has not allowed more than three goals in any of those starts, and in fact, the most goals Condon has allowed in a game this season is four when he was pulled after 40 minutes in Colorado (which if you recall, was Condon's first regulation loss of the season and his career).
Needless to say, no game is won easily. The Habs will be taking on one of the league's best 5v5 possession teams. As Ian mentioned in his preview from this morning, the Hurricanes are only a fifth of a percentage point below the Canadiens in 5v5 even strength shot attempts percentage. If the Canes are vulnerable, it's on special teams where they rank 29th in both powerplay (12.2%) and penalty killing (72%). Even still, the Canes are the least penalized team in the league with only 59 penalties taken this year, so the Habs will still need to make the most of their opportunities.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): TVAS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
In the Hurriances' region: FS-CR
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Tomas Fleischmann||Tomas Plekanec||Paul Byron|
|Lars Eller||Alex Galchenyuk||Sven Andrighetto|
|Daniel Carr||Brian Flynn||Christian Thomas|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Jeff Petry|
|Alexei Emelin||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn
Injuries: Carey Price (lower body) Brendan Gallagher (broken fingers), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Alexander Semin (lower body), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body)
|Brock McGinn||Eric Staal||Elias Lindholm|
|Jeff Skinner||Victor Rask||Phillip Di Giuseppe|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Jordan Staal||Andrej Nestrasil|
|Brad Malone||Jay McClement||Chris Terry|
|Ron Hainsey||Justin Faulk|
|John-Michael Liles||Brett Pesce|
|Noah Hanifin||Jaccob Slavin|
Scratched: Kris Versteeg, Riley Nash, Michal Jordan
Injuries: Nathan Gerbe (ankle), James Wisniewski (left knee)