Improved Prospects For Habs' Road Trip
- By: Steve Emmert
- On: 3/4/2013 10:53:00 AM
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The schedule makers seemed to be giving the Canadiens a hard time of it this week, calling for five games in eight days, all on the road. But Les Bleu, Blanc et Rouge answered the call Sunday night with a 4-3, come-from-behind win in Beantown. Suddenly, the rest of the week looks quite a bit brighter.
Of the remaining four games, only one is against a team with a winning record. That would be Thursday night’s trip to Raleigh to face the Hurricanes. But two factors make that game significantly easier for the Canadiens: The ‘Canes are a so-so team at home (5-4-0, compared with 7-4-1 on the road), and Carolina’s starting goalie, Cam Ward, is out for at least a month and a half with an MCL sprain. Backup Dan Ellis has played well (3-2-0, 2.53, .923), but beyond question, the Carolina coaching staff would much rather have Ward between the pipes.
The other games on the slate are against sub-.500 teams: the Islanders (9-11-2) on Tuesday; the Bolts (9-11-1) on Saturday; and the Panthers (6-11-5, last in the Eastern Conference) on Sunday. Tampa Bay is better than its record would indicate, but there’s a good chance that the Habs could come out of this five-game swing with something like eight points, counting the two that they already have in their pocket, courtesy of the Bruins.