Tracking the Storm

Canes, Canadiens Have Common Ground

Tuesday, 10.28.2008 / 10:49 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes, Canadiens Have Common Ground

When first reading through the Montreal news this morning, the Canadiens seemed like the bizarro-Hurricanes.

Paul Branecky
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With Andrei Kostitsyn set to return from a concussion tonight and Chris Higgins set to play only his second game of the season after suffering a groin injury, the Canadiens will have a full, healthy lineup at their disposal for the first time this season.  With five regulars out of the lineup, the Canes will bring something other than that.

In another twist, Montreal’s last game ended in a 6-4 loss to the Ducks (the first regulation loss of the season for the 5-1-1 squad), despite dominating the shot margin by a total of 51-25.  Carolina’s last game ended in a 4-3 victory, despite being on the wrong side of a dominating 60-28 shot total.

Despite those differences, there is one area where the teams have some common ground – head injuries from technically legal hits.

Assuming he does suit up tonight as expected, Kostitsyn will be lucky to have only missed two games after his head was slammed into the boards by Phoenix’s Kurt Sauer 10 days ago.  Like Doug Weight’s hit on Brandon Sutter over the weekend, it was deemed a clean hit and went unpenalized, sparking a good amount of controversy afterwards.

In this editorial by Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau’s comments about the Kostitsyn incident are understandably similar to the ones Jim Rutherford made after the Sutter hit - the league should do more to protect its players.  That article is also worth a read to see Weight’s take on what happened Saturday night.

What to watch for tonight:

  • Montreal scores more goals per game than any other NHL team (3.71) without relying on just one or two players.  Fourteen players have goals, not including defenseman Andrei Markov, who hasn’t lit the lamp himself but is tied for the team’s points lead with 10 assists.  Their healthy, balanced lineup could present match-up problems for the shorthanded Canes.
     
  • Speaking of Markov, Montreal has a knack for making offensive stars of their defensemen.  Two years ago it was Sheldon Souray (64 points) and last year it was Mark Streit (62 points).  Both signed as free agents elsewhere after those seasons, but with players like Markov and Roman Hamrlik still around, Montreal never seems to miss a beat in that department.
     
  • Of course, all that could be balanced out by Carolina’s recent dominance at the Bell Centre.  Check today’s game notes for some unbelievable numbers for both Cam Ward and the team as a whole.
     
  • Dwight Helminen will become the third player to make his NHL debut with the Hurricanes this season, joining Sutter and Zach Boychuk.  Helminen has four points in six AHL games with Albany so far.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72