Canadiens-Hurricanes Preview

The Montreal Canadiens are hoping to develop some

consistency.

A meeting with the sliding Carolina Hurricanes may be just what

they need.

The Canadiens attempt to rebound from a disappointing

performance and conclude 2013 on a positive note Tuesday night by

sending the Hurricanes to their longest losing streak of the

season.

Montreal (23-14-3) is averaging 1.6 goals while losing five of

nine after scoring 3.3 per game during a 9-0-1 stretch.

After back-to-back wins at Nashville and Tampa Bay, the

Canadiens surrendered three unanswered goals Sunday in a 4-1 loss

at Florida, the fourth stop on a six-game trip.

“We’re all battling. We all want to win,” left wing Max

Pacioretty told the team’s official website. “We all want to play

the right way. It’s just frustrating that we’re not really finding

it.”

Montreal was held without a power-play goal for the fourth

straight game and is 3 for 34 with the man advantage over the past

12.

“Especially on these road trips, you want to salvage as many

points as you can,” defenseman P.K. Subban said. “For us, it’s just

a matter of playing the game we know we need to play in order to

win and to be successful. When we do those things, we’re successful

more often than not.

“We have to continue to bring that work ethic and continue to

put pucks deep and be a tough team to play against. We’ve got to

bring that.”

That’s certainly been the case against the Hurricanes (14-16-9).

Montreal has outscored them 11-3 while winning three straight

meetings, including a 4-1 victory in the most recent matchup April

1.

Pacioretty scored twice in that game, giving him three goals and

one assist in the past three. He’s surely looking for another big

effort against Carolina after being kept off the score sheet for

two straight games, while posting a season-worst minus-3 rating

Sunday.

Carey Price figures to be back in net Tuesday after Peter Budaj

made 21 saves against the Panthers. Price has won four of five

starts overall and is 4-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and

one shutout in his last five against Carolina.

The Hurricanes have dropped eight of nine (1-4-4), including a

season high-tying five in a row. They haven’t endured a longer

slide since losing seven straight April 1-11, a stretch that

started in Montreal.

Carolina’s struggles continued with Sunday’s 5-2 defeat at

Toronto despite a 43-27 shot advantage.

“We had enough chances to win a hockey game,” coach Kirk Muller

said. “The chances were there. They scored and we didn’t.”

Nathan Gerbe, who had a goal Sunday, has been a rare bright spot

recently. The left wing has three goals and three assists over the

past six games, including four points in the last three.

Gerbe, though, has had little success against the Canadiens,

totaling four points in 14 meetings while failing to score a goal

in eight straight.

Jeff Skinner, the Hurricanes’ leader with 14 goals, hasn’t

scored in six matchups.

Carolina needs better play from top goaltender Cam Ward, who is

1-4-1 with a 3.85 GAA in his last six starts. Backup Justin Peters

has been much sharper lately, going 1-2-3 with a 2.45 GAA in his

past six.