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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60