A lopsided defeat may have been one of the best things to happen to the Montreal Canadiens.
They’ve won three in a row since that ugly loss and will look to continue the run Monday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
Carolina, bolstered by a defenseman’s recent offensive surge, will be looking to extend its winning streak to four games, too.
Montreal’s roll comes on the heels of a three-game losing streak that included a 6-0 home loss to Toronto on Feb. 9. After allowing 12 goals during that skid, the Canadiens have held their last three opponents to a total of four.
“I thought the way we handled that game, with (Erik) Cole getting the guys together, guys talking and coming back to work the right way … You can lick your wounds and feel sorry for yourselves and point fingers,” defenseman Josh Gorges said. “But instead of doing that we decided to look in the mirror, and be accountable and get better. We had a good week.”
The Canadiens’ roster, though, took a few lumps in a 4-1 home victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.
Brendan Gallagher recorded his fifth goal and third assist of the season, but the rookie suffered a concussion on a hit in the third period. Coach Michel Therrien said Gallagher felt better Sunday, but the team would follow league protocol and make sure he’s fully recovered.
“We never want to put a player’s health in danger,” Therrien said. “When he gets back in the lineup, he will be healthy.”
Upper-body injuries kept Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty from finishing the game but both practiced Sunday. Pacioretty needed stitches after being cut by a skate and said he would see how he feels Monday.
Defenseman P.K. Subban and goaltender Carey Price both missed Sunday’s practice with the flu. While Subban’s status for this game is uncertain, the illness kept Price out of Saturday’s game and it appears Peter Budaj will get a second straight start in his place.
Montreal (9-4-1) would like to see its power play return to the form it showed in the first seven games, scoring 11 goals on 41 opportunities. The Canadiens have one goal in 18 chances over the last four games, but the unit could wake up against a Carolina penalty kill that has allowed six goals on their opponents’ last 11 power plays.
The Hurricanes (8-4-1) have seen success on the road, going 4-0-1 in their last five away from home while scoring 20 goals.
They’ve won five of six overall and now look to match their longest winning streak from all of last season.
Defenseman Joe Corvo has keyed the surge with five points in four games since being a healthy scratch for three straight contests Feb. 2-7. He had one point in his first five games but sitting out three in a row seemed to re-ignite him.
Corvo had a goal and assisted on the go-ahead score in a 3-1 home win over Toronto on Thursday.
“When you try to get involved, good things happen, you get chances,” he said. “There’s a big difference between playing safe and playing confident. Obviously, right now I’m playing pretty confident.”
Eric Staal’s team-high eight goals and nine assists have all come during his current 11-game point streak, one shy of the career high he set Feb. 8-March 6, 2012. Staal has nine goals and 10 assists in his last 12 visits to Montreal.
The squads split four meetings last season.