Carolina has lost 3 of their last 4, with Eric Staal (whose quasi-justified 7-year, $8.25M/year contract extension was just recently out-crazied by the Avalanche signing Paul Stastny to a 5-year deal worth $6.6M/year... straight out of his entry-level deal) putting up just NO goals and just 1 assist in his last 7 games.
Eric must be looking forward to playing Montreal however, with 8 goals and 8 assists in his last 12 games against the Habs, putting together a strong case as heir-apparent to Erik Cole's 'Canadiens-killer' throne. No matter how poorly things may be going for the 'Canes, no matter how desperately against the wall their backs may be, they seemingly always find a way to work their way past the Canadiens.
If Luke Decock's intuition is right, failure to pull one out against the Habs tonight may be a nail in the coffin of coach Laviolette's suddenly precarious tenure behind the bench in Carolina.
The Canadiens will look to avoid playing a prolonged game of 'Where's Wardo?' by putting some pucks on net in the first ten minutes of play (a feat they have not accomplished in their last few outings), and may look to an unlikely source for some offensive output tonight... Josh Gorges, goalless as a Hab in 97 games now, was provided a stick-sacrificing ritual courtesy of Carey Price, who shredded and scattered the bits of Gorges's stick around the RBC Centre to help break the curse that has kept him off the scoresheet.
Finally, in today's installment of "All is Right with the World", Sergei Samsonov has 0 goals and 3 assists in 18 games and stands at minus-10, allowing Hurricane fans to feel our pain... only they now have him under contract until 2010-11. He is pictured above in his favourite position--the perimeter.