National Hockey League
Preview
Carolina at Montreal
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 23, 2017
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

Despite sweeping a home-and-home set against Ottawa over the weekend in a showdown for first place in the Atlantic Division, the Montreal Canadiens are still feeling pressure from the Senators. With a matchup against Ottawa on deck, the Canadiens will continue their six-game homestand when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Montreal dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to last-place Detroit on Tuesday but was happy to snag one point thanks to a tying goal by Artturi Lehkonen with 2 1/2 minutes to play in regulation. It ended a streak of six consecutive victories beyond regulation for the Canadiens since Claude Julien took over and gave them a three-point edge over Ottawa, which has a game in hand. The Hurricanes are maintaining a pulse in their bid for a playoff spot, extending their point streak to eight games (5-0-3) with Tuesday's 4-3 win at Florida. Carolina and Montreal split a pair of one-game decisions six days apart in November, with the home team prevailing on each occasion.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Carolina, RDS, Sportsnet East (Montreal)

ABOUT THE HURRICANES (31-27-13): Forward Jeff Skinner continues to do the heavy lifting for Carolina, scoring the tying and winning goals against Florida to give him five tallies in his last three games and three multi-goal efforts in his last six. "He's at the net. He's doing things right," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "You do good things on a consistent basis, and typically you will get rewarded in this league." Skinner has burned the Canadiens with nine goals in 21 games.

ABOUT THE CANADIENS (41-23-9): Julien decided to shuffle his lines at Wednesday's practice, taking center Alex Galchenyuk off the No. 1 unit and shifting him to left wing alongside center Andrew Shaw and Lehkonen. Galchenyuk, who had a career-high 30 goals last season, is scoreless in nine games this month. "We had a good chat this morning and he's open to either (wing) or (center)," Julien said. "He's trying to find his game a little bit and I'm trying to help him."

OVERTIME

1. Julien said G Carey Price is dealing with a minor issue and did not confirm him to start Thursday.

2. Hurricanes F Elias Lindholm has three goals and six assists during an career-best eight-game point streak.

3. Montreal is 1-for-21 on the power play in its last nine games.

PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Hurricanes 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Carolina 31-27-8-5 W1 21-10-3-1 10-17-5-4 3-5-0-0 28-22-8-5 8-13-2-2
Montreal 41-23-7-2 L1 21-10-4-1 20-13-3-1 2-3-0-1 39-20-7-1 14-3-5-1
Last Meeting
Carolina Montreal
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
11/24/16 CAR 1 MON 2 32 20 0-3 22 31 0-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Carolina E. Lindholm 1
Montreal D. Desharnais 1
Goals Player  
Carolina E. Lindholm 1
Montreal M. Pacioretty 1
Assists Player  
Carolina B. Pesce 1
Montreal D. Desharnais 1
Saves Player  
Carolina C. Ward 20
Montreal C. Price 31
Season
Total Points Player  
Carolina J. Skinner 53
Montreal M. Pacioretty 62
Goals Player  
Carolina J. Skinner 30
Montreal M. Pacioretty 33
Assists Player  
Carolina E. Lindholm 31
Montreal A. Radulov 37
Saves Player  
Carolina C. Ward 1479
Montreal C. Price 1511
Quickchart Matchup
Carolina Off vs  Montreal Def
2.59 GF
2.47 GA
30.2 Shots
29.9 Shots
36 PP
46 PK
Montreal Off vs  Carolina Def
2.7 GF
2.83 GA
29.9 Shots
28.3 Shots
42 PP
27 PK