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Gameday 10: Canadiens @ Ducks – Lines, Storylines, Notes – UPDATED

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The way things are going, the Montreal Canadiens will probably blow out the Anaheim Ducks this afternoon.

Such has been the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Habs so far, especially these last five games. The club have followed up a lopsided loss with a decisive win. So after last night’s no-show against the Kings, expect goals galore at the Honda Center.

Beware Detroit on Tuesday, though!

After the Montreal Canadiens were joined by their general manager in the dressing room after their 5-2 loss to Los Angeles, the team reportedly had one of those infamous players only meetings to try and thrash out exactly what continues to go wrong for them.

Problem solved!

Unfortunately, sports doesn’t work like that. The Habs will simply try and take that first step towards building up their game and their confidence once again.

The Montreal Canadiens haven’t been good at particularly anything this season. You are what your 2-7 record says you are. But nothing has been as hauntingly bad as the team’s play on special teams.

Matching their third worst record in the league, the power-play and the penalty kill are also third worst in the entire NHL. The PK in particular was the story last night as three power-play goals by the Kings in just over 14 minutes sunk the visitors.

“We’re taking too many penalties,” forward Tyler Toffoli told reporters post-game last night. “Our penalty-kill, we’re not doing a good enough job I think up ice as forwards. Then they’re getting easy entries and (are) able to set up and that’s where we’re getting into trouble. And our power-play we aren’t generating nearly any chances.”

Succinct but wrong from Toffoli there. At least when it comes to the penalty-kill. While denying zone entries is for sure a problem, there is a structural issue down a man that the coaching staff has yet to resolve. Opponents are scoring from the same spot with remarkable regularity.

Goaltender Samuel Montembeault is expected to be the last line of defence against the Ducks power-play today. Montembeault will make his first start since the Habs 5-1 lifeless loss to the Sabres.

UPDATE: Head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed that Montembeault will get the start in net this afternoon. Mathieu Perreault will be out 2-3 weeks with an eye injury. He’ll be replaced by Adam Brooks. Ducharme also said that forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Jeff Petry are game-time decisions. Chris Wideman will also draw into the lineup against his former team.

Here are how your Montreal Canadiens are expected to line up against Anaheim this afternoon

Forwards

Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson

Hoffman – Suzuki – Gallagher

Toffoli – Brooks – Caufield

Lehkonen – Paquette – Armia

Defencemen

Chiarot – Petry

Romanov – Savard

Kulak – Wideman

Goaltenders

Montembeault

Allen

Injuries: C Jake Evans, undisclosed (day-to-day). D Joel Edmundson, lower-body (week-to-week). F Mathieu Perreault, eye (2-3 weeks).

 

The Anaheim Ducks, like the Kings, are in the middle of a rebuild. The Ducks have a marginally better record than Los Angeles at 2-4-3 and are turning their team over to the likes of Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Longueuil native Maxime Comtois.

Anaheim are mired in a six-game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming in a shootout 5-4 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.

It was a night of milestones for the Ducks in Sin City. Centreman Ryan Getzlaf tied Teemu Selanne for the all-time franchise points lead with 988 points. He can break that record today against the Canadiens.

Quelle boulot pour rendre au show

A day earlier, Laval native Simon Benoit had a night to remember against the Buffalo Sabres. The undrafted defenceman scored his first NHL goal after a lengthy road to the show..

“Incredible,” is how head coach Dallas Eakins described Benoit’s journey to the NHL. “I don’t know if anybody remembers but that kid showed up to development camp on a tryout. Then he got a tryout to rookie camp. Then he got a tryout to main camp. Then he was able to sign an American Hockey League contract. Then after a year or two he got an NHL contract and now he’s scored his first goal. That kid’s resilience, his discipline, the amount of work he’s put in to get here is an unbelievable testament to him and anybody who is looking to get better in their lives should just look at that kid.”

Numbers

The Canadiens have a tendency to play down to their opponent and that could be a problem again a Ducks team that are averaging three goals per game so far this season. The Habs on the other hand are averaging 1.89 goals per game while allowing 3.33 against per game. That could be an issue against a Ducks team with Getzlaf, 24-year old right winger Troy Terry who currently leads the team with nine points and Calder trophy candidate Trevor Zegras.

Anaheim also has quite the offensive mix on the blueline. Anchored by the best-defenseman-you-don’t-know Hampus Lindholm, in Drysdale, Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk the Ducks have some serious firepower and mobility on the back end. What that does do is leave them exposed a bit in their own zone. Anaheim have allowed the third most goals per game in the league at 3.56 per game.

Here are how the Anaheim Ducks are expected to lineup today against the Montreal Canadiens per Puckpedia

Forwards

Henrique – Getzlaf – Terry

Comtois – Zegras – Milano

Steel – Lundestrom – Silfverberg

Deslauriers – Groulx – Grant

Defencemen

Lindholm – Drysdale

Fowler – Manson

Benoit – Shattenkirk

Goalies

Gibson

Stolarz

Injuries: LW Rickard Rackell, upper body (IR). F Max Jones, pectoral (4-6 months). C Mason McTavish, lower body (day-to-day).

NOTES

  • The Ducks have a home record of 10-5-2 record against the Montreal Canadiens
  • Quackback!: Anaheim have come back from three goal deficits to force overtime their last two games
  • Anaheim have four Quebecers playing their hometown team: Benoit, Comtois, former Hab Nicholas Deslauriers and centreman Benoit Olivier-Groulx

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