Looking to snap their longest losing streak in nearly two years, the Montreal Canadiens are trying to find any positives they can during the slump.
The Canadiens will try to end their four-game skid when they host the surging Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Montreal (27-20-5) is currently on its longest winless stretch since it dropped five straight from Feb. 19-28, 2012. The Canadiens remain optimistic, though, sitting above the postseason cutoff with 59 points and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Defensman P.K. Subban believes the team will turn it around before the Olympic break.
"I know it seems that not a lot has gone right for us lately, but I still think we can take some positives out of our play. We need to bear down for each other," Subban told the team’s official website. "The reality is, we’re still in a good position, moving forward, and we can only get better from here on in."
Defense has been the biggest problem during the slide for the Canadiens, who have allowed 19 goals in the four games – a 4.75 average that tops the NHL since Jan. 18. Montreal’s offense hasn’t been too good, either, with only five tallies in that span – three of them coming in one game.
The Canadiens gave up four goals during the second period alone in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Washington. Things could have been a lot worse for Montreal, which killed off all eight penalties after allowing at least one power-play goal in the previous three losses.
"It’s embarrassing to be at home and play the way we did," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "We have nobody to blame except ourselves and we have to be a lot more resilient moving forward."
The Canadiens’ power play has been quite stagnant of late, converting only twice in 13 opportunities during the skid and three times in the last 10 games.
Carolina (24-19-9), which is also in the playoff mix with 57 points, comes into this matchup heading in the opposite direction with four consecutive victories. The Hurricanes have been on their best stretch of the season since beating Montreal 5-4 in overtime on New Year’s Eve, a victory that kicked off a 10-3-0 stretch.
The Hurricanes scored three goals in less than three minutes of the third period Monday to rally for a dramatic 3-2 victory against Columbus. Eric Staal scored twice before younger brother Jordan knocked in the eventual winner at 14:05.
"It was a good comeback," Eric Staal said. "We didn’t want to spot them two early, but we did. We stayed with it and got better as the game went on. I thought we got stronger and stronger, and then eventually it broke through in the third."
The hottest player for the Hurricanes lately has been winger Alexander Semin, who has a six-game points streak, tallying six goals and three assists during that span. Semin scored the winner in overtime against the Canadiens last month.
That victory snapped a three-game win streak in the series for Montreal, which has won five of its last six against Carolina on home ice.