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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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81