In what could be deemed ‘The Battle For Shane Wright’, the Montreal Canadiens (7-24-4, 18 pts) and Arizona Coyotes (8-24-4, 20 pts) will battle it out in the desert Monday at 4 PM ET (TSN2, RDS, ESPN+, HULU).
The Habs will try to build off their best performance of the month so far in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday in Chicago and snap a five-game skid overall. If the Montreal Canadiens, the worst team in the NHL, can beat the Coyotes, the second-worst team in the league, it would be their first road win since a 6-3 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on November 27. The Habs have now lost seven (0-6-1) straight games on the road and they’re about to play the third game of a seven-game road trip.
The Coyotes come into this game having lost their last two games (0-1-1), including a 5-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Saturday. The Avs also beat the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout on Friday.
This game is essentially a pick em on the side with the Coyotes a slight favorite at -110. If you took the Coyotes on the puck line (-1.5), you can get that at +200. With both teams so evenly matched but for all the wrong reasons, we’re feeling overtime and going with the draw here at +280.
Prediction: Habs 3 Coyotes 2 (OT)
Montreal Canadiens Notes
-The Montreal Canadiens continue to get healthier. Winger Josh Anderson will return to the lineup and play for the first time since December 2. Anderson has seven goals and six assists in 25 games.
-The Canadiens are also anticipating the return of forward Paul Byron this week. Byron has yet to play a game this season after undergoing offseason hip surgery.
-Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman will be back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula last Wednesday.
-The Montreal Canadiens will be without goalie Jake Allen for at least a week after Allen left in the first period of the 5-1 loss to the Bruins last Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. As a result, goalie Cayden Primeau was recalled from the Laval Rocket and is expected to get the nod today against the Coyotes. Primeau is 1-2-0 with a 3.65 GAA and .904 save percentage.
-In addition to Byron (COVID), forwards Brendan Gallagher (lower-body), Tyler Toffoli (hand), and defencemen Joel Edmundson (Personal, COVID), Carey Price (torn meniscus), and Shea Weber, essentially retired after offseason foot surgery are all out.
-Jeff Petry will be looking to add more offense from the back end again after snapping a 33-game goalless streak on Thursday. Habs center Nick Suzuki leads the team in points with 19. He is tied for the team lead in goals (7) with Anderson and for the team lead in assists (12).
-This is Christian Dvorak’s first game back to the desert to face his former team since being traded to the Canadiens last summer. Dvorak played in 302 games for Arizona from 2016-21 and totaled 146 points (67-79-146).
Arizona Coyotes Notes
-This is the first of two games between the Coyotes and Canadiens with the other game slotted for the Bell Centre on March 15. The last time the two teams met was Feb. 10, 2020 in Montreal when the Yotes beat the Habs 3-2 at Gila River Arena. The last time the Canadiens played in Arizona was in a 4-1 win on October 30, 2019.
-Coyotes winger Phil Kessel -who also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins has had plenty of success against the Canadiens over the years. He has 10 points (3-7-10) in his last eight games against the Habs and holds a 21-37-58 career scoring line against the Montreal Canadiens in 63 games. Those 37 assists are the most he’s posted against any NHL team.
-Old friend Alex Galchenyuk has four assists in 17 games.
Montreal Canadiens Lines:
Mike Hoffman-Nick Suzuki-Josh Anderson
Rem Pitlick-Christian Dvorak-Jonathan Drouin
Laurent Dauphin-Ryan Poehling-Cole Caufield
Artturi Lehkonen-Jake Evans- Joel Armia
Ben Chiarot-David Savard
Alexander Romanov-Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak-Chris Wideman
Arizona Coyotes Lines
Lawson Crouse – Johann Larsson – Phil Kessel
Andrew Ladd- Travis Boyd – Clayton Keller
Antoine Roussel – Riley Nash – Christian Fischer
Ryan Dzingel – Alex Galchenyuk – Nick Schmaltz
Shayne Gostisbehere – Dysin Mayo
Janis Moser – Ilya LyuBushkin
Vladislav Kolyachonok – Victo Soderstrom