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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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