Canadiens at Hurricanes: Five things you should know
|Montreal Gazette 24 Mar 2019 at 04:39|
The matchup: This is the third and final meeting between these teams this season and this is the important game for both teams after splitting the first two games at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens are coming off while the Hurricanes maintained a two-point lead in the battle for the first wild-card spot with a 5-1 win over Minnesota. That game was in Raleigh and the extra rest will give the Hurricanes an edge.
Gallagher, Domi provide offence: The top two lines provided the bulk of the offence in Saturday’s win. Brendan Gallagher scored two goals and added an assist while Domi and Tomas Tatar each added a goal and an assist. They two goals gave Gallagher a career-high 33 for the season while Domi brought his career high up to 26. One of Domi’s assists allowed the snake-bit Artturi Lehkonen to score. It was his ninth of the season but the Finn has scored only two goals in the last 43 games. Speaking of offence, Andrew Shaw had a goal and an assist. Shaw has a career-high 18 goals and 40 points, which is even more impressive when you consider that he has missed 19 games this season because of injuries.
Double duty for Price: This is a back-to-back game and, under normal circumstances, coach Claude Julien would look to backup goaltender Antti Niemi. But these aren’t normal circumstances and that means Carey Price will get a second consecutive start. Price and the Canadiens are on a three-game winning streak and must continue winning if they hope to snare a playoff spot. They also need some help from their friends because Carolina is still two points ahead and while ninth-place Columbus is three back, they hold a game in hand.
Is the power play back? The Canadiens have had the worst power play in the league for most of this season, but there are small signs that Montreal is turning things around. When Max Domi scored a power-play goal late in the third period on Saturday, it marked the second consecutive game with a Montreal power-play goal. It’s a small sample, but the Canadiens have been getting more good looks and the Sabres came into the Bell Centre with the seventh-best penalty-killing record in the NHL.
The other guys: The Hurricanes are led by Finns Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. The 21-year-old Aho has emerged as a top offensive player in his third NHL season with 30 goals and 50 assists, while Teravainen has 19 goals and 70 points. The 37-year-old Justin Williams is next in the scoring parade with 22 goals and he provides solid leadership and the experience that comes in handy during a playoff race. He was a part of Carolina’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2006. The Hurricanes also have a standout rookie in 18-year-old Andrei Svechnikov. The Russian teen has 19 goals and 16 assists. Veterans Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek provide solid goaltending on a team ranked ninth in defence.
Canadiens beat Sabres 7-4 to strengthen hold on final playoff spot