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Canadiens Analysis

Gameday 27 – Lightning @ Montreal- Clague/Dauphin debuts- Darche MIA – Lines, Notes

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A couple players will make their Montreal Canadien debuts.

Vice President of Hockey Operations Jeff Gorton’s first move was claiming defenseman Kale Clague on waivers. He was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and has played a total of 33 games. It was Clague’s second stint on the waiver wire and his strengths as a puck moving defenseman will be a welcomed addition to Montreal’s blueline.

“I feel like I’m pretty young and like I’m ready to take the next steps,” said the 23-year-old Clague. “I like where my game is at and I’m looking forward to getting going here.”

Laurent Dauphin gets his first crack at playing with the Canadiens after three years with the organization. He has been a contributor this season with the Laval Rocket scoring 11-goals in 18-games. Playing with Michael Pezzetta and Cedric Paquette, Dauphin will keep things simple by being strong on the forecheck and going to the net.

Injuries pile up

The Habs injured list would make a pretty good team on their own. Joel Armia and Tyler Toffoli are now added to the list of players unable to play. They join Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson, Shea Weber, Carey Price, Joel Edmundson, Brendan Gallagher, Sami Niku and Paul Byron.

Ouff!

Norlinder gets reps with the Rocket

Defenseman Mattias Norlinder has been loaned to the Laval Rocket. The option became available on Dec. 1 when the obligation to return him Sweden expired. He still might be sent back to Europe at some point and the team will make a decision with input from the player.

“He understands the situation and he sees it’s totally a different game, especially for a defenseman,” said Canadiens’ head coach Dominique Ducharme. “He’s got good vision and poise, handling pressure on breakouts is one big difference from here to there (Europe) and especially the way he plays.”

Eyes on Darche

Montreal’s search for a new general manager continues and one of the frontrunners is Tampa Bay Lightning Director of Hockey Operations Mathieu Darche. It seems like Darche wants to lay low and avoid the spotlight, he wasn’t at the morning skate and won’t be at the game tonight despite traveling with the team. He’s been in his role with the Lightning since 2019.

Hall of Famer Bob Gainey will be part of a committee to find Montreal’s next GM. He brings a wealth of experience having been the Canadiens’ GM from 2003-2010 and signed Darche in 2009 as a free agent.

Forwards

Artturi Lehkonen – Christian Dvorak – Jake Evans

Mike Hoffman – Nick Suzuki – Jonathan Drouin

Mathieu Perreault – Ryan Poehling – Cole Caufield

Michael Pezzetta – Cedric Paquette – Lauren Dauphin

Defencemen

Ben Chiarot – David Savard

Alexander Romanov – Chris Wideman

Brett Kulak – Kale Clague

Goalies

Jake Allen

Samuel Montembeault

Lightning lighting it up despite injuries

The Lightning aren’t using injuries as an excuse. Even with injuries to star players Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay is on a three game winning streak and only three points back of first place Florida. Erik Cernak is the latest player out with an injury and the team has called up Fredrik Claesson.

Alex Barre-Boulet won’t get to play against his hometown team because he’s been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch. This paves the way for Mathieu Joseph to return to the lineup.

The game is the first meeting between the two teams since the Stanley Cup Final. They’ll play two more times after tonight.

Here’s how Tampa Bay is expected to line up tonight.

Forwards

Ondrej Palat- Steven Stamkos – Mathieu Joseph

Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Gabriel Fortier

Boris Katchouk – Ross Colton – Taylor Raddysh

Patrick Maroon – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Corey Perry

Defencemen

Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh – Zach Bogosian

Mikhail Sergachev – Cal Foote

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

NOTES

  • Former Montreal Canadien Corey Perry is starting to heat up after a slow start with six points in his last eight games.
  • Three Tampa Bay defenseman have 10 points or more… (McDonagh, Hedman and Sergachev)
  • The Lightning didn’t score a shorthanded goal in their first 22 games but have one in two straight games.
  • Nick Suzuki is two points away from 100 in his NHL career.

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