The Montreal Canadiens picked a bad time for their longest losing streak of the season.
The Canadiens will look to shake a five-game losing streak as they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Montreal (29-24-6) has not won since Feb. 4 at home against Pittsburgh and has been outscored 17-7 during its slide. The Canadiens, coming off Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at New Jersey, are tied with Toronto and the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“No one is going to come, there is no savior who is going to come in and save the day for us,” said Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray, who scored against the Devils. “If we are waiting for that, and I don’t think we are, we’re definitely on the wrong track. We’re going to need all the guys in here to keep giving a little more and a little more until we break through.”
If recent history is any indication, Montreal could have a tough time ending their slide on Saturday. The Canadiens have lost their last six home games against the Hurricanes, including three in last season’s playoffs.
Carolina is just one point ahead of Montreal in seventh place.
“Every game is so important now and they’re right with us in the exact same spot,” Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour told the team’s official Web site. “Obviously it’s a tough building to play in, and we’re going to have to be ready.”
The Hurricanes (29-24-7) have won three of their last five, but are coming off Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. The defeat was especially costly as All-Star winger Justin Williams left the game midway through the second period with an upper-body injury and defenseman Bret Hedican also left in the second with a head injury.
Erik Cole missed the game with a hip pointer and Cory Stillman was out with a sprained knee. However, coach Peter Laviolette said Friday that Hedican is day-to-day and Cole is “possible” for Saturday.
“Regardless of who’s in and who’s out, the expectation is we have to win,” Laviolette said. “That hasn’t changed all year. We haven’t been healthy all year, there’s no sense talking about, there’s no sense crying about it.”
Montreal is dealing with its own injury problems. Right wing Alex Kovalev has missed two games with an upper body injury and goalie Cristobal Huet left in the second period of Wednesday’s defeat with an injured left hamstring.
The Canadiens called up Jaroslav Halak, who has never appeared in an NHL game, from Hamilton of the AHL on Thursday.
“He’s not here as a tourist, that’s for sure,” coach Guy Carbonneau told Montreal’s official Web site. “If he doesn’t play (Saturday), then most likely on Sunday.”
David Aebischer, who took over for Huet on Wednesday and made 19 saves, is 10-9-3 with a 2.89 goals-against average.