Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
News

GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens

Monday, 02.05.2007 / 3:50 PM / News
Carolina Hurricanes
X
Share with your Friends


GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

BY PAUL BRANECKY

Game Notes

It wasn't long ago that the Hurricanes were looking forward to getting back on home ice to cure their road woes.

Now, it might be the other way around.

After going 0-2-1 on last week's three-game home stand, the Hurricanes will spend this week on a three-game road trip beginning Tuesday night in Montreal (7:30 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network) and continuing through Boston and Minnesota on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Montreal is currently ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Even though they will be away from their families in Raleigh for an entire week on the continuous trip, spending so much time together as a team might be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Hurricanes.

"It can actually be good because it gets the guys together," said winger Scott Walker. "Your whole thought when you're on the road is hockey. You're with the team every day, with your teammates at dinners, before you go to sleep, out for a movie or whatever you do. Your focus can really be on these next three games."

Picking up points in these next few games will be crucial for the Hurricanes, who suddenly find their backs against the wall in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Carolina currently occupies the eighth and final spot, but the two teams directly below them, Toronto and the New York Islanders, have each played fewer games. If those teams were to pick up wins in those extra games, the Hurricanes would find themselves on the outside looking in.

"We need it right now," said Walker. "It's important that we get these wins. This road trip can hopefully bring us together, and it might be the right thing at the right time."

While willing to try anything to turn the team around, team captain Rod Brind'Amour doesn't quite share Walker's enthusiasm for jet-setting.

"There's never a good time for a road trip," said the veteran center. "I don't like getting on the road. We've been together all year, so to sit there and say you get more on the road is really not true. But maybe it's just time to focus on the games and nothing else, no family or no anything. You can go and be a little bit more focused, which is what we need right now."

To Head Coach Peter Laviolette, home or road doesn't make a whole lot of difference as long as you get the results.

"It's only a good time for a road trip if you win road games, then it's a good time for a road trip," he said. "If you lose, it's probably not a great time. I don't have a crystal ball, but again, I've got a ton of confidence in the players that are in that room to go on the road and win hockey games, one at a time."

While much has been made of the Hurricanes power play struggles of late, their penalty kill must also be sharp in Montreal. The Canadiens' power play is currently ranked second in the NHL with a 22.5 percent success rate. By comparison, the Hurricanes are 25th with a 15.4 percent success rate.

That has prompted the Hurricanes to take notes and try to learn a few things from their upcoming opponents.

"We've just got to keep ours a little more simple," said Brind'Amour. "Montreal's power play is just rip it from the point and get rebounds and tips, and that's what we need to do."

Looking at the numbers, you might credit Montreal's dynamic power play to big scoring names like Saku Koivu, Alexei Kovalev or Sergei Samsonov.

However, the credit has to go to defenseman Sheldon Souray, who before this season wasn't known for his offensive instincts. Souray currently leads all Monreal players in overall scoring with 44 points - already a career high. He also leads all power play scorers with 14.

Although Montreal has struggled a bit lately, going 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, stopping Souray and the Canadiens power play will be a major key to winning the game.

"You're always worried about it, you don't want to take penalties," said Brind'Amour. "It's no secret that they've got a good one, and power plays win you games."

KEN PRESTON

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montreal Canadiens
Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Bell Centre * Montreal, Que.
Hurricanes: 26-22-7 (59 pts.) 3rd Southeast Division
Canadiens:
29-19-6 (64 pts.), 2nd Northeast Division

TOMORROW’S GAME
The Carolina Hurricanes embark on a three-game road trip that begins at the Bell Centre on Tuesday as Carolina faces off against its 2006 Eastern Conference quarterfinals foe, the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network). The team will then travel on to Boston and Minnesota before returning to Raleigh on Saturday night. The Hurricanes (59 pts.) are currently one point behind Tampa Bay for second place in the Southeast Division, with Atlanta in first place with 66 points.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Center Eric Staal is one assist shy of 100 NHL/Hurricanes assists
  • Center Eric Belanger is one assist shy of 100 NHL assists
  • Head coach Peter Laviolette is two wins shy of 100 Hurricanes victories
  • Captain Rod Brind'Amour is three goals shy of 400 for his NHL career

CURRENT STREAKS

  • none

Television: No Carolina telecast (RDS's French-language telecast available via NHL Center Ice)
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC… check listings for games), News Talk Radio WFNC 640 AM (Fayetteville, NC… Saturdays and Sundays)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES

  • While the Hurricanes have won just one game in their last seven outings, the team has earned points in eight of its last 12 games, going 5-4-3 in that span, earning 13 of a possible 24 points.

  • Left wing Ray Whitney has earned points in 10 of Carolina’s last 12 games, scoring five goals and earning 10 assists (15 points) dating back to Jan. 6. Whitney picked up multiple assists in three of those games, earning two helpers on Jan. 6 against the NY Islanders and Jan. 9 at Toronto, and three assists on Jan. 26 against Washington.

  • The Hurricanes post an 8-5-4-1 record in their last 18 regular-season games against Montreal. The Canadiens have not beaten the Hurricanes two times in a regular season since 2002-03.

  • The Carolina franchise has not suffered a regulation loss on Feb. 6 since 1988, and has gone 6-3-2 in games played on this date since joining the NHL for the 1979-80 season.

  • This season, Carolina’s penalty kill has gone 218-for-256 (85.2%) in 51 games with Rod Brind’Amour in the lineup. It went 17-for-27 (63.0%) in the four games Brind’Amour missed in December.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 14-10-4
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 12-12-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 49-of-319 (15.4%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 236-of-284 (83.1%)

INJURY REPORT

  • Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, shoulder, out, missed 55 games

HURRICANES PRACTICE SCHEDULE

DECEMBER
Practice Type
Time
Location
Tues., Feb. 6
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
Bell Centre, Montreal
Wed., Feb. 7
Team Practice
TBD
Montreal
Thurs., Feb. 8
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston
Fri., Feb. 9
Team Practice
TBD
Boston
Sat., Feb. 10
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
XCel Energy Center, Minnesota
Sun., Feb. 11
Off
Mon., Feb. 12
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Tues., Feb. 13
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Feb. 14
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Thurs., Feb. 15
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Fri., Feb. 16
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Sat., Feb. 17
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
Bell Centre, Montreal

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

AGAINST THE CANADIENS
Thursday marks the third of four regular-season meetings between 2006 Eastern Conference quarterfinals opponents Carolina and Montreal, and the first of two contests between the clubs at the Bell Centre in the next 11 days. The teams met at the RBC Center on Nov. 2, a 4-0 Montreal win, but Carolina stuck back on Nov. 30, scoring a 4-2 win in Ralegih. In 2005-06, the Hurricanes posted a perfect 4-0-0 record against Montreal and outscored the Canadiens 25-9 in the teams’ four contests. Justin Williams led all scorers with nine points in last year’s four-game set, while Erik Cole led Carolina with five goals despite playing in just three of the four games between the clubs. The Hurricanes franchise posts a 52-86-19-2 all-time record against the Canadiens, including a 32-37-12-1 home mark, and a 20-49-7-1 record in Montreal.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

CAROLINA HURRICANES
MONTREAL CANADIENS
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
Whitney
55
21
38
59
Brind'Amour
51
15
41
56
Williams
55
26
23
49
Cole
54
24
25
49
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
Souray
53
18
26
44
Koivu
50
16
27
43
Kovalev
54
12
25
37
Ryder
54
15
20
35
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Ward
42
2.93
21-14-6
.897
Grahame
15
3.14
5-8-1
.890
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Huet
37
2.71
19-12-3
.919
Aebischer
22
2.84
10-7-3
.911

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL