How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Hurricanes region: Fox Sports Carolina
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Heading into the holiday break, the Canadiens were doing pretty well. They took home six out of a possible eight points and it landed them in third place of the Atlantic Division. Post-holiday break, however ... that’s a different story.
The high points: Max Domi has emerged and is riding high with a five-game goal streak, Nick Suzuki is continuing to grow and notched his first three-point night on Sunday against the Panthers, and even Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who’s coming off a groin injury, found the back of the net in the both games after his return.
In the last two contests, the Canadiens scored nine goals (four against Tampa and five against Florida). That should make a victory a given. Should. On the flip side, they let in 11 goals during those matchups (five and six, respectively), so there’s that.
Good offence, not so good defence, and an overworked goaltender. One out of three isn’t great. On Sunday, Carey Price suited up for his seventh game in a row and his 32nd out of 39 games so far this season. Is that an excuse? Maybe. Maybe not. The whole back end needs to sort themselves out if they want to get anything out of this season.
Tale of the Tape
|54.1% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||55.1% (1st)|
|3.28 (10th)||Goals per game||3.36 (9th)|
|3.26 (25th)||Goals against per game||2.85 (9th)|
|24.3% (6th)||PP%||23.4% (8th)|
|76.4% (25th)||PK%||81.8% (11th)|
Unlike the Canadiens, who have two back-to-back losses heading into tonight’s meeting, the Hurricanes are coming off a 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, finally snapping their three-game losing streak. Warren Foegele had quite the night in the close affair, notching two goalsm which contributed to his first career four-point night.
The penalty box seems to be where the Hurricanes like to hang out most this season. If they continue that trend tonight, it could be an advantage for the Canadiens as they’ve been pretty disciplined as of late and have tallied 25 power-play goals, now sitting sixth in the league.
Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen are leading the Hurricanes with an almost point-per-game rate with 38 points in 39 games, while Lucas Wallmark is riding a five-game point streak (3G, 4A). If the Canadiens’ defence can at least keep an eye out for those three, that would be great. They’re also working with a healthy roster whereas Montreal is still missing Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron and Joel Armia.
One thing these two teams do seem to have in common is the inability to hold on to the lead. So, that being said, be sure to get your neck stretches in. This could be another back-and-forth nail-biter.
Earlier this month, Montreal actually sat in second place in their division. Now they’re in fifth, with the Metropolitan Division in full control of the wild-card placements. So, as we all know, they need every point they can muster up.
One person who tends to lend a hand on that front is Brendan Gallagher, who’s been abnormally quiet lately. Since it’s New Year’s Eve, maybe our little firecracker will give us something else to celebrate as we ring in the new year.