Category Four: Two teams riding winning streaks meet Monday night at the Bell Centre, as both the Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes each go in search of their 4th consecutive victory. With a record of 8-4-1 (17 points), the Hurricanes sit atop the Southeast Division, and third in the Eastern Conference standings. Paced by centremen Eric Staal, who has recorded a point in 11 straight games – the longest points streak in the NHL this season – and brother Jordan – who sits second in team scoring with 12 points, Carolina has earned points in six straight contests and have won five of their last six games. Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges noted Carolina’s success as of late.
“Well, they’re a team that’s playing real well lately and I think their top two centers provide a good 1-2 punch,” explained the nine-year NHL veteran, who emphasized the importance of maintaining composure against head coach Kirk Muller’s squad come puck-drop. “They’ve got two lines that can come at you pretty hard and their other lines work real hard, so again we have to be focused on what we do best and what makes our team successful again tonight.”
Watchful Eye: After a bout with the flu over the weekend, Carey Price returned to practice Monday morning in Brossard in preparation to serve as back-up to Peter Budaj against the Carolina Hurricanes. The 25-year-old netminder admitted feeling progressively worse as the bug took its toll last Friday morning, depriving the Anahim Lake, B.C. native of sleep that evening as he battled a fever. Unable to practice over the weekend, Price admittedly was still feeling the effects of the illness some 48 hours after being stricken with the virus.
“I feel like I haven’t done anything in four days. Energy’s low,” said Price, who’s hoping to return in time for Tuesday night’s contest against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. “I feel a little sluggish, but that’s probably just from sitting in a dark room for four days.”
Not even a severe case of the flu, however, could stop the 2007 Calder Cup champion from watching Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers from the comfort of his own home.
“I actually watched the game from my basement, and the guys played well,” said Price, who sits tied atop the league with Anaheim’s Viktor Fasth and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury with eight wins on the season. “They played well on the defensive side of the puck and they put a few in the net. ‘Budz’ played well.”
The Dishwasher: With Brendan Gallagher sidelined indefinitely with a concussion, head coach Michel Therrien has elected to re-insert forward Ryan White back into the line-up against Carolina. White, who has the missed the last four games after taking a costly penalty against the Buffalo Sabres on February 7th, will likely find himself on the fourth line Monday night. Therrien explained his ongoing process with White to members of the media with a rather unusual analogy.
“It’s a bit like a child who gets to the age where he can take his own dishes to the dishwasher. The first time, you’re going to tell him to do it. If he doesn’t do it, you’re going to explain the process to him. Then, you’ll warn him. If he doesn’t follow instructions the next time, then there’ll be consequences. No telephone, no Internet,” Therrien said during his Monday morning press conference. “Honestly, it’s the same thing with Ryan, just at a different level. The first time, I spoke to him. The second time, there was a small penalty. The third time, what happened, happened, hoping that it doesn’t happen again.”
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