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Gameday 20 – Canadiens vs Predators – 7D, 11F – Lines, Notes

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The Montreal Canadiens frustration is starting to show.

And be heard.

Forwards Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson did not mince words after practice yesterday following the Habs 6-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

“We’re one of the worst teams in the league right now,” said Toffoli bluntly.

They do say knowing is half the battle.

“We’ve got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves,” said Anderson. “We’ve just got to dig in and build this together. We have to string a couple of wins in a row just to feel good about ourselves right now. The inconsistency right now, it’s not right.”

The team announced yesterday that general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s in the final year of his deal with the team. Anderson was asked if the GM’s job security is becoming an issue for the players on the ice.

“It’s just a tough spot for everybody that’s involved with this. Nobody expected the situation that we’re in right now obviously…I mean everybody is thinking about it, obviously, when you’re in this situation. There could be some bad things, there could be some (player) movement coming along. But it’s our job as players. He prepared this team as best he could and it’s our job to go out there and execute. And we’re not doing that for him right now. It’s on us as players, not management. He built a team that he thinks that can win and we believed in that. But we’re not doing it. We’re not helping anyone out right now.”

11F, 7D and the return of Eddy

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme is going with a rarely used strategy from the playoffs tonight against the Nashville Predators. The Habs will dress seven defencemen and 11 forwards with Chris Wideman drawing in and Michael Pezzetta drawing out. The team deployed the configuration with former defenceman Erik Gustafsson at times to get him on the power-play in the postseason. It appears as though Ducharme is doing the same with Wideman this evening.

Or maybe it’s a final audition for some of the blueliners before one of them has to get comfortable with a spot in the press box.

Joel Edmundson skated with some his teammates at the team’s optional morning skate. The defenceman didn’t take contact as he continues to work his way back from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him all season. But his presence at the morning skate was the first indication that he is getting close to making his season debut over the next week or so.

Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens are expected to line up against the Nashville Predators tonight at the Bell Centre

Forwards

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield

Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson

Artturi Lehkonen – Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher

– Ryan Poehling – Joel Armia

Defencemen

Ben Chiarot – Jeff Petry

Mattias Norlinder – David Savard

Alexander Romanov – Brett Kulak

Chris Wideman

Goalies

Samuel Montembeault

Cayden Primeau

Living up to the contract

While the Montreal Canadiens are not living up to their expectations for this season, neither are the Nashville Predators.

In a good way.

With Filip Forsberg entering the final year of his contract and significant roster turnover in the summer, the Preds appeared headed for a transition season. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Nashville are 9-6-1 on the season, 7-2-1 over their last ten and firmly in the middle of the pack in the Central Division.

The main reason why? Matt Duchene.

Captain Roman Josi and forward Mikael Granlund have been terrific as well, tied with Duchene for the team lead with 16 points. But after signing a seven-year, $56 million dollar contract in 2019-20, the Predators centreman didn’t live up to that deal the first two years. 55 and 67 point seasons did not reflect the eight million dollars he was making. Now he’s playing on the wing next to Granlund and loving life.

Duchene, Josi and Granlund have all been central to a power-play that looks like it could victimize the Habs porous penalty-kill. Nashville have the sixth ranked man-advantage in the league while the Canadiens continue to languish in the cellar down a man in 29th spot.

In the net, Juuse Saros has taken the ball from the retired Pekka Rinne and run with it so far. He’s been crucial to the team’s success with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage.

Here’s how the Nashville Predators are expected to line-up against the Montreal Canadiens tonight per Puckpedia

Forwards

Luke Kunin – Mikael Granlund – Matt Duchene

Tanner Jeannot – Ryan Johansen – Phillip Tomasino

Yakov Trenin – Colton Sissons – Mathieu Olivier

Nick Cousins – Thomas Novak – Eeli Tolvanen

Defencemen

Roman Josi – Dante Fabbro

Mattias Ekholm – Alexandre Carrier

Mark Borowiecki – Matt Benning

Goalies

Juuse Saros

David Rittich

NOTES

  • Brendan Gallagher will tie Floyd Curry for 40th most games played in franchise history (601)
  • The Predators are 8-1-1 against the Montreal Canadiens their last 10 games

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