The Montreal Canadiens will be looking for their second straight win when they face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The Habs will also seek their second straight win against the Canes since losing four straight in last year’s playoffs.
Meanwhile, Carolina is looking to get their season back on the right track. It seems the reigning Stanley Cup champions are suffering from a severe hangover common to modern day champs in the NHL.
Second Period Woes: The Montreal Canadiens have not scored a goal in the second period in 5 games. The last time they did so was in an embarrassing 5-1 loss against the Florida Panthers on November 16th. The problem has left Head Coach Guy Carbonneau searching for answers. He even went far enough to ask anyone who had a suggestion on how to better their second period play to mail him their ideas. Things are looking up though. In Montreal’s 1-0 shoot-out win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, they out shot their opponent 18-11 in the second frame.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Habs continue their quest for consistency after living the tale of two different teams, rising to the occasion against the better teams while slumping against the weaker ones. The team has gone 2-1 in their last 3 games, but they needed the final second of overtime and a shoot-out in order to gain their latest wins. The Canadiens started by winning an emotional game last Friday night against the league’s best team, the Buffalo Sabres only to come up short against one of the league’s worst teams, the Philadelphia Flyers, the following night.
Back Where They Started: The Habs began the month of November with a 4-0 win over the Hurricanes, and will want to end the month on a similar note. Huet, who is coming off a 1-0 shut-out win, was in goal for the win last time around and finds himself between the pipes once again. Mike Komisarek scored the winner short handed when he deflected a pass from Steve Begin, breaking a scoreless tie in the second period.
Lucky Number 7: Cristobal Huet will attempt to win his seventh straight game tonight. Huet is currently leading the league in save percentage with .940 and goals against average at 1.93. If not for an early platoon system, which saw David Aebischer getting his share of starts, Huet would be a shoe-in for the 2007 All-Star game.
Loosen Up: It seems that Michael Ryder, who owns one of the best shots in the NHL, isn’t shooting. With a chance to secure a shoot-out win on Tuesday night against Florida, Ryder went in on goaltender Alex Auld and attempted a deke rather than letting off his lethal wrist shot; a questionable call on his and the coaching staff’s part. The Habs’ top free agent signing of the summer, Sergei Samsonov, is another player looking to end a scoring slump tonight. He hasn’t potted one in 13 games.
Montreal Injuries: Christopher Higgins (high ankle sprain), out until mid-to-late December.
Carolina Injuries: Cory Stillman (shoulder), out indefinitely; Frantisek Kaberle (shoulder), out indefinitely.