The Montreal Canadiens come back from the break in NHL action to resume their battle for the playoffs after going 2-1 on a Western Canadian road trip. It started out with two wins against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, but ended with the team falling hard to the Edmonton Oilers in their last outing, with a 4-1 loss.
Montreal can’t seem to maintain traction in recent weeks, with a 4-4-1 record in nine games so far in December, and their upcoming schedule features two games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, perhaps the most dominant team in the NHL so far.
But on the bright side, there are many positives with the Canadiens as of late, despite their recent loss.
In those nine games so far this month, Alex Galchenyuk has recorded eight points, and has done that with limited ice time so far. Phillip Danault has been quietly productive as well, with six points in those nine games. Another player who’s been flying under the radar lately as well? Andrew Shaw, who also has six points this month so far. All three of these players rank among the Canadiens’ top five scorers, alongside Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.
Tonight, they play the Carolina Hurricanes, a team they are chasing for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
How to watch
Tale of the Tape
|1-2-0||H2H Record (2016/17)||2-1-0|
Carolina has fared well in the East this season, despite being three points out of a wild card spot. With a 16-12-7 record so far, they’re ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, and are jostling with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders for the two wild-card spots. This include their previous two wins, one of which came against the Nashville Predators.
After a few years of having veterans such as Eric Staal lead the way, the youth movement is now underway in Carolina. Teuvo Teravainen leads the ‘Canes with 28 points so far this season, followed by Jeff Skinner with 26 and Sebastian Aho with 25.
Despite having a defence corps made up of talented young blue-liners such as Noah Hanafin, Elias Lindholm, and Jaccob Slavin, goaltending has been the weakness for the Hurricanes.
Off-season signing, and former Chicago Blackhawk, Scott Darling hasn’t performed up to expectations, as he currently has an 8-10-0 record, sporting an .896 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average. Meanwhile, 13-year veteran Cam Ward has been slightly more effective this season, with an 8-2-0 record.
Montreal and Carolina have not met so far in 2017-18, but the Canadiens should be wise not to sleep on a team that had a 1-2-0 record on them last season, especially with their upcoming schedule.