The Habs are back at home after a semi-successful road-trip that saw them collect 4 of a possible 6 points. With the only loss of the trip coming to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Habs have 11 games left in their regular season schedule to outperform top-tier teams such as the Lightning, as well as the New York Rangers who have looked next to unstoppable since the start of January.
While the Habs are collecting points, they are not doing so in style. For example, the Habs were annihilated in puck possession and shots in Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers, outshot 43-25 and putting in a dismal CF% of 36.79 (67-39 CF in Florida's favour). Of particular note is how the Canadiens played in the third period when they did not register their first shot attempt until 10 minutes had been played (at which point the Panthers had already rattled off 20), and only put up 7 more to end the period, while the Panthers tallied for a total of 30 CF in the third period alone and were stopped by Dustin Tokarski 21 times.
If the Habs are really looking to outperform their Stanley Cup competition, they have to do better. Collecting points is good for the standings, and will put the Habs in a better position to begin the playoffs, but as was shown in the game Monday against the Lightning, some teams don't need 30 chances a period to put one on the scoreboard.
Unlike the Florida Panthers, the Carolina Hurricanes are not in any kind of playoff race. To make a small logical leap, this should mean that the Habs will be able to play a better game than they did on Tuesday. Michel Therrien was happy to get some points on the road-trip, but even the best poker face in the world can't hide the fact the Canadiens need to start playing better, and relying less on their goalies to get the wins for them if they have any plans to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup.
The puck drops at 7:30PM EST. The Canes will be going with back-up Anton Khudobin between the pipes as Cam Ward is still out with an illness. The Habs are without all three players they obtained on trade-deadline day, as Jeff Petry is reportedly out with the flu.
In Canada (French): RDS
|Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Alex Galchenyuk||David Desharnais||P.A. Parenteau|
|Jacob de la Rose||Lars Eller||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Brandon Prust||Manny Malholtra||Dale Weise|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Tom Gilbert||Nathan Bealieu|
|Alexei Emelin||Greg Pateryn|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Sergei Gonchar
Injuries: Torrey Mitchell (upper body), Brian Flynn (upper body), Jeff Petry (flu)
|Eric Staal||Jordan Staal||Nathan Gerbe|
|Chris Terry||Victor Rask||Andrej Nestrasil|
|Jeff Skinner||Elias Lindholm||Alexander Semin|
|Brad Malone||Jay McClement||Patrick Dwyer|
|Ron Hainsey||Justin Faulk|
|Michal Jordan||Brett Bellemore|
|Danny Biega||Ryan Murphy|
Scratched: Riley Nash
Injuries: Jack Hillen (concussion) Rasmus Rissanen (knee), John Michael Liles (lower body)
Check out the enemy over at Canes Country.