The Montreal Canadiens will host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in a must win four point game. A win against Carolina would allow the Habs to leap over them in the standings while holding a game in hand. If the 10th place Canadiens wishes to keep their playoff hopes alive, defeating the Hurricanes tonight is crucial.
Two players will make their NHL debuts with the Montreal Canadiens this weekend. Duncan Milroy was called up earlier today and will suit up tonight as both Garth Murray and Aaron Downey will be healthy scratches.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak, who was called up when goaltender Cristobal Huet suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out indefinitely, will back-up David Aebischer tonight. Halak is scheduled to see his first NHL action tomorrow night in Columbus.
Montreal will be without the services of Alex Kovalev, who is out for up to three weeks with an elbow injury, Craig Rivet, who continues to recover from pneumonia, and Huet this weekend, so calling up Milory and Halak was required. Coach Guy Carbonneau expressed that he wanted to bring up Andrei Kostitsyn, but the young Belarusian’s girlfriend just gave birth to their first child.
Milroy is enjoying his best season in the AHL with 52 points in 52 games this season. The 24-year-old has 23 goals and 29 assists, both are a team high. He has also done well defensively with a plus/minus of +13. Also, the 6’1, 196lbs right-winger has scored 13 of his 23 goals on the powerplay, which is seven more than any other Hamilton Bulldogs’ player this season.
The Habs will look to end their 5-game losing streak tonight. Montreal has not pulled off a win since a 4-3 OT win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey was the latest team to down the Canadiens. Sergei Samsonov and Sheldon Souray each had goals against Martin Brodeur, but undisciplined hockey from the Habs provided the Devils with two 5-on-3 opportunities. New Jersey took advantage of their opportunites on route to a 5-2 victory on Wednesday.
The Hurricanes dropped their last game, a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers who sit three points back from Montreal with two games in hand. Andrew Ladd was the only ‘Cane to score, while Cam Ward picked up his 15th loss of the season. Carolina has won three of their last five games and currently sits at seventh place in the Eastern Conference.