Another game, another backup goalie for the Hurricanes to face.
The Canes, after going up against Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals and then Aaron Dell of San Jose, will see Al Montoya in net Friday for the Montreal Canadiens.
No Carey Price. Not this game, and not with the Canadiens to play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Montoya took the brunt of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 10-goal assault Nov 4. He played much better Sunday in a 3-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, making 32 saves, and will be seeking his fourth victory of the season Friday.
The Canes (5-6-4), with goalie Cam Ward starting his fifth consecutive game, will be after a third straight victory and Canes coach Bill Peters said he expects a very fast-paced game.
“They’ve got a quick team and balance on all four lines and with speed,” Peters said. “It’s two quick teams that play fast through the neutral zone, so I expect a real uptempo game.”
The Canadiens (13-2-2), after the loss to the Blackhawks, lost in overtime to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday but continue to lead the Eastern Conference.
-- The arrival of the Montreal media Friday led to more talk about the Canes’ lagging attendance, future ownership and a possible franchise relocation.
While answering hockey-relayed questions about the game, the Canes’ players again were asked about speculation owner Peter Karmanos Jr. could sell the team to a new owner or ownership group wanting to move the team.
“To be honest, there’s a lot of things we have to be worried about that are in our control,” Canes forward Jeff Skinner said. “We’re just worried about getting better on the ice, getting better as a team. The rest of that stuff will take care of itself. There’s no reason worrying about it or stressing about it because it’s completely out of our control.”
While Karmanos has been looking for a buyer or major investment partner, both Karmanos and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman have said the team will not be moved.
-- The Canes plan to stick to the lines and defensive pairs used in the past two victories. Victor Rask will center Skinner and Elias Lindholm, Jordan Staal will center Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho, Derek Ryan will be at center with Lee Stempniak and Brock McGinn, and Jay McClement will center Viktor Stalberg and Joakim Nordstrom.
The defensive pairs will have Ron Hainsey with Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin with Brett Pesce and Noan Hanifin with Matt Tennyson.
Ward is 3-1-2 in November, with a 1.62 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. His 1-0 shutout of the Sharks was the 24th of his career.
The Canes will see two familiar faces with the Habs — former head coach Kirk Muller, now Montreal’s associate coach, and forward Chris Terry, who will be playing his second game of the season for the Habs. Terry, drafted by Carolina in 2007, played 138 games for the Canes.