Preview: Montreal at Carolina
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
After suffering their first regulation loss in seven games, the Montreal Canadiens look to get back on track on Saturday when they visit the spiraling Carolina Hurricanes. Captain Max Pacioretty has nine goals and eight assists in 17 career meetings with Carolina, but saw his five-game point streak come to an end in Thursday’s 3-2 setback to Washington.
“The hockey gods were not on our side,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after watchng Pacioretty unleash nine shots on goal. “We were playing a very good team and we carried the play.” While Montreal is 5-1-1 in its last seven, Carolina dropped its third straight and 11th in 14 outings (3-7-4) with a lackluster 5-1 setback to Metropolitan Division-rival New Jersey on Thursday. The Hurricanes failed on both power-play opportunities to drop to 0-for-13 in the last five contests and a league-worst 10-for-82 (12.2 percent) on the season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, RSN, TVA (Montreal), FSN Carolinas
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (19-5-3): Notoriously one who is resistent to change, Lars Eller has surprised Therrien by embracing his new position on the wing. “It would almost be weird to go back to center,” the 26-year-old Dane told Sportsnet on Friday, one day after scoring his seventh goal of the season to give him four points in his last five contests. “I’m super comfortable there right now. I didn’t think it would be (like) this, you know, that I would like it that much. It took a bit of time, but I really enjoy playing there now.”
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (8-13-4): Defenseman Ryan Murphy’s stay in Carolina was a short one as the 12th overall selection of the 2011 draft was shipped back to Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Friday. The 22-year-old Murphy, who was recalled from the Checkers on Tuesday, has notched four assists in 18 games this season. The Hurricanes also recalled fellow defenseman Jaccob Slavin and forwards Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn.
1. Montreal C Alex Galchenyuk has recorded five goals and three assists in his last seven games.
2. Hurricanes C Brad Malone scored his team’s lone goal on Thursday, but has failed to notch a point in four career meetings with the Canadiens.
3. Montreal has killed off all six short-handed situations over the last three games and is 21-for-23 in the last seven.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Hurricanes 1