The Montreal Canadiens (11-10-1) head to Alberta on Thursday, facing the Calgary Flames (10-9-3) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drop is scheduled for 9 PM ET.
It’s the first of four games in their western road trip, and a healthy reminder the Canadiens are entering a difficult stretch of their schedule.
Historically, the western swing has caused problems for the Canadiens, however they did manage to win games against the Flames and Edmonton Oilers last season before dropping two straight to the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken.
The Flames are still trying to find their rhythm following a hectic summer that saw Matthew Tkachuk head to the Florida Panthers and Jonathan Huberdeau arrive in Calgary.
Coming off a 115-point season with the Panthers, Huberdeau has struggled to produce with his new team, scoring just four goals and eight assists in 19 games. He’s currently fifth in team scoring, behind Nazem Kadri, Rasmus Andersson, Elias Lindholm and former Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli.
Toffoli, a fan favourite during his brief tenure with the Canadiens, leads his team in scoring with eight goals and eight assists, including two game-winning goals.
Jacob Markstrom is slated to make the start, which should be good news for the visiting time, seeing as backup Daniel Vladar has enjoyed a much better season from a statistical point of view.
Jake Allen will guard the net for the Canadiens.
Mike Hoffman did not make the trip, and will miss a fifth game while recovering from a lower-body injury. The Canadiens placed him on the injured reserve today, and proceeded to call up Rem Pitlick from the Laval Rocket.
Brendan Gallagher did make the trip, but will not take part in the game against the Flames due to a lower-body injury. Consequently, Martin St-Louis will be forced to ice a different lineup, especially since Sean Monahan left practice early this afternoon, leaving his game-time status in doubt.
Rookie Juraj Slafkovsky, the second-least used player in St-Louis’ lineup, is slated to play alongside Josh Anderson and Monahan.
The game will mark Cole Caufield’s 100th game in the NHL. The sniper is currently sitting at 39 goals in his career, one of the best goal-scoring paces in Canadiens history. Only Maurice Richard (78), Jean Beliveau (47), and Boom Boom Geoffrion scored more goals (42) prior to their 100th game.
It’s fair to assume Caufield would have had a healthy chance to finish second to Richard if he hadn’t been handcuffed by Dominique Ducharme for the first half of his career.
He’s currently among the best goal-scorers in the league, a very encouraging sign seeing as the majority of his goals have come at even strength. If the Canadiens can improve their woeful power play, it would not be unreasonable to expect Caufield’s production to increase significantly.
If he’s cleared to play, the game also marks the return of Monahan to Calgary, following a trade that saw him unceremoniously shipped to Montreal along with a first-round pick for future considerations.
Monahan, who scored just eight goals and 15 assists in 65 games for the Flames last season, is currently fourth in scoring among Canadiens players, with 5 goals and 9 assists in 22 games. He’s the only player not currently assigned to the first line that has managed to reach the 10-point plateau.
- Mike Hoffman (day-to-day)
- Jonathan Drouin (upper-body injury, 4-6 weeks)
- Carey Price (LTIR)
- Paul Byron (LTIR)
- Oliver Kylington (personal)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
|Josh Anderson||Nick Suzuki||Rem Pitlick|
|Mike Hoffman||Kirby Dach||Jesse Ylönen|
|Owen Beck||Christian Dvorak||Evgenii Dadonov|
|Micheal Pezzetta||Alex Belzile||Rafaël Harvey-Pinard|
|Mike Matheson||David Savard|
|Arber Xhekaj||Justin Barron|
|Jordan Harris||Johnathan Kovacevic|
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli
Dube – Kadri – Mangiapane
Ruzicka – Backlund – Coleman
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Stone
Special Teams[table “18” not found /]
- This is the first of two meetings between the teams. The Canadiens won both their encounters with the Flames last season.
- Captain Nick Suzuki continues to lead the Canadiens in scoring with 12 goals and 12 assists in 22 games.
- Defenceman Arber Xhekaj returns to the lineup. Johnathan Kovacevic will watch the game from the press box.