NHL Extras
More NHL
NHL Odds
More Hockey
NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 26th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (29-24-9) at Montreal Canadiens (32-23-7), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens could have used recently-acquired defenseman Brent Sopel last time out. Still, there is no doubt the 34-year-old will add a boost to the Habs' blue line tonight when he makes his debut versus the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre.

With defenseman Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges both done for the season due to injury and Jaroslav Spacek having not played since Feb. 12 due to a lower-body ailment, the Canadiens acquired Sopel and forward Nigel Dawes from Atlanta on Thursday for forward Ben Maxwell and a 2011 fourth-round draft pick.

Sopel won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last year before getting traded to Atlanta and had two goals and five assists in 59 games with the Thrashers. His biggest strength is on the back end, something that might have helped Montreal in Thursday's 5-4 loss to Toronto, but he did not join the team until Friday.

Mike Cammalleri and Jeff Halpern both had a goal and an assist versus the Maple Leafs, and James Wisniewski and Jeff Halpern also scored for the Canadiens, who have lost four of five both at home and overall.

"They did some good things in the first, but we weren't that bad," said Cammalleri. "They had some big power-play goals. It's tough to win when you give up five [goals]."

Alex Auld made his fifth start since Jan. 1, but gave up three goals on nine shots in just over 13 minutes of action. Carey Price yielded a pair of goals on 19 shots in relief.

The good news for the Habs is that they have scored seven goals in two games since posting just nine over their previous five, and they remain just four points back of the Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division.

Montreal had little trouble scoring when it hosted Carolina back on Nov. 13, getting a goal and three assists from Tomas Plekanec in a 7-2 win. It was much closer when the Habs visited the Hurricanes a month later, a 3-2 triumph that was their fourth in the last six meetings.

Carolina, which has still won eight of its last 11 in Montreal, remained three points up on Buffalo for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference following last night's 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Erik Cole had a goal and an assist in his 600th NHL game, while Cory Stillman made his return to the Hurricanes after being re-acquired from Florida on Thursday. Stillman was a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning club.

"Cory's already helping," said Cole after his club won for the third time in nine games (3-3-3) and ended a four-game homestand 2-1-1.

Jay Harrison and Joe Corvo scored in the first period and Cam Ward turned aside 33 shots for the Hurricanes, who lost captain Eric Staal to an upper- body injury in the second period.

Head coach Paul Maurice said after the game that Staal would not travel with the club to Montreal. The 26-year-old has 27 goals and 31 assists in 61 games this season.

02/26 10:46:49 ET


NHL News
· Oilers agree to terms with Schultz

· Top Shelf: Should the NHL roll the dice in Vegas?

· Senators sign G Anderson to three-year extension

More News