Canadiens-Hurricanes Preview

With its playoff hopes starting to look bleak, everything went

Carolina’s way Tuesday night.

Nothing’s gone right for the Hurricanes against their next


Carolina hopes to build off a critical win and perhaps pull

closer to the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed Wednesday night at

the RBC Center, but it’ll have to first find a way to solve a

Montreal Canadiens team looking to complete a four-game season


The Hurricanes (36-30-10) won three of four heading into

Tuesday’s game in Washington, but that stretch didn’t help them

make up any ground in the East. Eighth-place Buffalo entered the

night with nine points in its last five games to take a five-point

lead for the conference’s final playoff berth.

While the Sabres lost 4-3 at Toronto, Carolina picked up two key

points in the nation’s capital. Jeff Skinner’s third-period goal

evened the score at 2, then he and Tuomo Ruutu scored in a shootout

to lift the Hurricanes to a crucial 3-2 victory.

“We got a little help, now we go back at it,” coach Paul

Maurice said. “We go home with some emotion and some excitement

now, and feeling good about being right back in it.”

As ninth-place Carolina gets a visit from current No. 6 seed

Montreal (41-29-7), Buffalo will host the seventh-place New York


Facing the Canadiens hasn’t worked out well for the Hurricanes.

Montreal has outscored Carolina 14-7 in winning all three games,

with six of those tallies coming in 12 power-play chances.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are 1 for 13 with the man


The Canadiens suffered through their own serious power outage

over the past week, getting shut out in three consecutive games for

the first time since Oct. 23-29, 1949.

They got all the offense they’d need within a few seconds

Wednesday against Atlanta. Roman Hamrlik broke a 199-minute,

1-second drought with a goal 12:56 into the first period, and

Mathieu Darche scored 11 seconds later to help lift Montreal to a

3-1 victory.

“Obviously it’s a big monkey off everybody’s back when we popped

that first one,” said Carey Price, who made 27 saves.

Price lost what would have been his ninth shutout on a

controversial goal midway through the third period, though he still

tied Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff for the NHL lead with his 21st home


Price has been much easier to score on away from the Bell

Centre. He’s 4-3-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average at home since

Feb. 9, but 5-6-0 with a 3.29 GAA in that same stretch on the


Price is 4-2-1 with a 2.09 GAA in seven starts against the

Hurricanes over the past three seasons, though. With a regulation

win Wednesday, Montreal would be nine points ahead of Carolina,

virtually ensuring a playoff spot.

“The two points are all that really matters at this point,”

Price told the NHL’s official website. “When you have teams

creeping up behind you, just putting two points on the board is the

biggest thing.”

Carolina captain Eric Staal has seven goals and seven assists in

his last seven games against Montreal. He missed last month’s 4-3

loss with an upper-body injury, the only game he’s missed this