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Canadiens Game 18: Matheson Returns, Surprising Defence Pairs

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens (8-8-1) return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers (7-7-3) on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

The Canadiens are in the midst of a two-game losing streak after a frustrating loss at the hands of the injury-plagued Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tonight they face another club decimated with injuries in the Flyers, and they would do well to learn from their game against Columbus and not underestimate their opponent due to their recent record.

The Canadiens will be seeing an injured player of their own return to the lineup tonight, as Mike Matheson will be set to make his debut as a Hab tonight after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer.

The 28-year-old has been out with a lower-body injury since the start of the season and will be slotting in next to Joel Edmundson‘s right to get started tonight. Unfortunately, that means that Jordan Harris, who just recently scored his first goal of the season, will have to draw out of tonight’s game, sparing Arber Xhekaj from being scratched for the first time this season.

We also need to talk about Nick Suzuki, who stood up in a big way for the Montreal Canadiens against the Blue Jackets with a timely goal and slick assist in their 6-4 loss.

The 23-year-old is on an absolute heater as of late, posting 14 points in his last nine games. The Canadiens’ top centre continues to lead the club in scoring so far this year with 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in just 17 games.

As for the Philadelphia Flyers, well, things aren’t as rosy as it was to start the season. They’ve only won two of their last 10 games, posting a 2-5-3 record, despite Carter Hart putting out Hart-worthy (pun intended) performances on a regular basis.

The young goaltender has bounced back from his inconsistent play in the past in a big way this season, sporting a .925 save percentage and a 2.55 goals-against average. He’s stolen a few games for the Flyers so far this season, but major injuries to star players like Sean Couturier have made it difficult to stand on his head every game.

Thankfully, Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes have also bounced back from their difficult 2021-2022 campaign and have been putting up stellar numbers for the flyers, with 19 and 17 points respectively, in 17 games this season. Hayes has been given the daunting task of filling in Couturier’s shoes, while the Flyers scramble to find a suitable replacement for Hayes on their second line.

It will be interesting to see which version of the Flyers is going to show up tonight. But, with John Tortorella facing his former pupil in Martin St-Louis, you can fully expect that he’ll have special motivation to give his players tonight to make sure he doesn’t get one-upped by the Canadiens’ rookie coach in their first encounter.

As of this junction, it’s not looking too good for Torts, as the Canadiens are favoured at -140 odds right now on the NHL betting lines,. That being said, Tortoterella has made a career out of proving the odds wrong.

Canadiens Injuries

  • Jonathan Drouin (upper-body injury, 4-6 weeks)
  • Joel Armia (upper-body injury, day-to-day)
  • Emil Heineman (IR)
  • Carey Price (LTIR)
  • Paul Byron (LTIR)

Flyers Injuries

  • Ryan Ellis (LTIR)
  • Sean Couturier (LTIR)
  • Bobby Brink (IR)
  • James Van Riemsdyk (IR)
  • Cam Atkinson (DTD)
  • Wade Allison (DTD)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines

LWCRW
Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiKirby Dach
Juraj SlafkovskySean Monahan *UNCONFIRMED*Josh Anderson
Evgenii DadonovChristian DvorakJoel Armia
Michael PezzettaJake EvansRem Pitlick
LDRD
Joel EdmundsonKaiden Guhle
Mike MathesonJohnathan Kovacevic
Arber XhekajJordan Harris
Goalie
Jake Allen
Samuel Montembeault

Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lines

Laughton-Hayes-Konecny*

Tippett-Cates-MacEwen

Willman-Frost-Farabee

Deslauriers-Sedlak-Brown

Defence:

Provorov-DeAngelo

Sanheim-Braun

Seeler-Ristolainen

Goalies:

Hart

Sandstrom

**lines to be confirmed

Special Teams

TEAMPower PlayPenalty Kill
Montreal Canadiens17.1% (29th)79.1% (12th)
Seattle Kraken26.0% (8th)66.7% (30th)

Game Notes:

  • Jake Allen gets his 12th start of the season
  • Nick Suzuki continues to lead the Montreal Canadiens in scoring with 11 goals and 10 assists in 17 games.
  • Kirby Dach leads the team with 11 assists.
  • First encounter between Martin St-Louis and former coach John Tortorella

How to Watch Or Listen

TV

TVA Sports, City TV, Sportsnet East,

Radio

Canadiens: TSN 69098,5FM

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Curtis Ault

Not surprised if Harris is the odd man out. Since the Pittsburgh game opposing forwards have keyed on him and played the body. He hasn’t dealt with it well when he has possession in the defensive zone.

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