Their last meeting was a bit of a strange one for the Habs, who heavily out-shot their opponent, yet still allowed three goals on the 18 shots they gave up. Meanwhile, the game served as a stepping stone for the Hurricanes, as they have now turned what was two straight wins before that meeting into a current five-game win streak.
Notably, Mark Barberio will make his season debut for the Canadiens this evening after being called up from St. John’s yesterday. Barberio was impressive during his stint with the Habs last season, and has been the IceCaps’ leading defensive scorer thus far in 2016-17. Of course, he draws in at the expense of Nathan Beaulieu who remains out after taking a puck to the neck on Tuesday night.
If the Habs can control the flow of the play in the same manner as the last time these teams met, they’ve got a good shot at picking up their fifteenth win of the season. However, Carolina has been a strong possession team this season, and over these past five games they have finally found a way to convert on their chances, making them a team to overlook at your own peril.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In Canada: SN360 (English), RDS (French)
In the United States: NHLN-US, FS-CR
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecenter Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|51.25||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||53.40|
|1.41||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.87|
With Eric Staal parting ways with the Hurricanes, this season represents the beginning of a new era in Carolina. Leading the charge for the Hurricanes is Jeff Skinner, as the 24-year-old is on pace to have a career year.
Victor Rask has been of utmost importance as well, with 15 points in 18 games thus far as his offensive performance has shown progression in this early part of the season. Alongside Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes have a very young, exciting hockey club.
The goaltending tandem of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have been suspect at times, however, and represent a bit of a weakness that could be exploited. Ward hasn’t been terrible, but finds himself well behind the top of the league in save percentage, while Lack has so far put up the worst numbers of his career.
One of the more interesting stories heading into this game will undoubtedly be the special teams match-up. Under Kirk Muller — the once head coach of the Hurricanes — the Habs power play has improved significantly. The question, however, will be whether it has become strong enough to do any damage to what has been a near-perfect penalty killing unit, as the Hurricanes boast a 91.8% efficiency while short-handed.