After more than 100 years of hockey history, there aren’t many firsts left for the Montreal Canadiens as a club. One of those rare firsts will happen tonight as the Habs take on the Seattle Kraken for the first time ever in Seattle.
The Montreal Canadiens are coming off their first victory of the season on Saturday night. Mathieu Perreault’s natural hat-trick sent the Bell Centre into rapturous applause as the Habs offence finally exploded for a 6-1 victory over Detroit. Head coach Dominique Ducharme naturally didn’t change a winning lineup at practice yesterday. So expect the same team that beat up on the Red Wings Saturday night.
“It’s really good for us,” chuckled forward Brendan Gallagher after practice yesterday. “Especially what we went through early on. You know, high pressure situations early on. So it’s good to get on the road. It’s always nice early on to spend a little bit more time with the guys and have some laughs. We know it’s going to be a tough road trip so if we can keep those smiles going throughout the trip and win some hockey games it will be a good experience for our group.”
The positive vibes continued yesterday for the Montreal Canadiens as captain Shea Weber joined the group. Weber is expected to be around the team until tomorrow and even joined his teammates for a trip to Lumen field to watch Monday Night football between the Saints and Seahawks. His playing career remains up in the air due to a recurring foot/ankle injury.
It is the first of four games on the West Coast for the Habs as they try to claw their way back to .500 for the season after a 1-5 start.
The Canadiens will be without centreman Jake Evans tonight. The club announced that it was a maintenance day for Evans. He will miss his second game with an undisclosed injury. Cedric Paquette will be in for him tonight on the fourth line.
Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens are expected to look tonight against the Seattle Kraken.
Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson
Hoffman – Suzuki – Gallagher
Toffoli – Perreault – Caufield
Lehkonen – Paquette – Armia
Chiarot – Petry
Romanov – Savard
Niku – Kulak
Injury update: Defenceman Joel Edmundson is reportedly back in Montreal and skating as he tries to work his way back into the lineup. Edmundson was away from the team due to personal reasons last week. He continues to recover from a lower-body injury that has kept him out of training camp and pre-season.
The Seattle Kraken haven’t exactly set the world alight in their first six games in the NHL. Seattle are 1-4-1 and coming off a 4-2 loss to their geographic rival the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
While the Montreal Canadiens are last in the league with just 10 goals scored, the Kraken aren’t far behind. Seattle have only scored 13 goals through six games and without any natural finishers on the team, offence is expected to be a problem this year for the expansion franchise.
Stylistically, the Kraken are expected to be a hard-working bunch.
“Their forecheck for the Kraken has been super aggressive,” Seattle Times reporter Marissa Ingemi said on Montreal radio earlier today. “I thought they toned it down a little bit on Saturday just to kind of focus on getting back on that transition defence a little bit. I expect they’ll play a pretty similar style tonight…While the mood around the Kraken hasn’t been dire or anything, they do still need to get some standing points. At some point moral victories aren’t going to be enough.”
Jared McCann is the early points leader for the Seattle Kraken with six points in six games. Goaltender Phillip Grubauer is expected to get the start in goal tonight. He has a GAA of 3.79 and a save percentage of .869 in five starts so far this season.
Here are the expected lines for the Seattle Kraken tonight per Puckpedia
Schwartz – Gourde – Jarnkrok
McCann – Wennberg – Eberle
Tanev – Geekie – Donskoi
Bastian – Sheahan – Appleton
Giordano – Oleksiak
Lauzon – Larsson
Soucy – Dunn
Injuries: Seattle placed goaltender Chris Driedger on IR last week with an undisclosed injury. Driedger skated separately from his teammates at practice this morning.
- Expansion teams have a record of 7-16-3 against the Montreal Canadiens
- The Krahen have two Quebecers on the roster in Yanni Gourde and Jeremy Lauzon
- This is not the first matchup between a Seattle team and the Montreal Canadiens. The Seattle Metropolitans defeated the Habs to become the first American team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917. The Metropolitans nearly defeated the Canadiens for the Cup again in 1919 but it was not completed because of the Spanish flu.