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Canadiens Game 27: Top Line Broken Up, Hoffman Returns

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Canadiens vs. Kings

The Montreal Canadiens (13-11-2) host the Los Angeles Kings (14-11-4) on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET.

It will be a the first time former Canadiens centre Philip Danault returns to Montreal this season. He’s currently tied for fourth in scoring among Kings players with seven goals and 12 assists in 29 games.

Unsurprisingly, Danault ranks among the best Kings forward in several crucial statistical categories, which falls in line with what Canadiens fans saw during his six seasons with the team.

In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, the general manager that refused to sign the cerebral centre, Marc Bergevin, now works for the team that outbid the Canadiens for his services.

Following a relatively strong start to the season, the Kings have faltered of late, earning just three wins in their last 10 games.

They receive most of their offence from a trio of skilled European players. Kevin Fiala leads the charge with nine goals and 21 assists, followed by Anze Kopitar with seven goals and 17 assists, and finally Viktor Arvidsson, who has seven goals and 14 assists.

With just one goal and 16 assists, unlike most seasons Drew Doughty does not lead his team when it comes to producing from the backline. The honour belongs to Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Sean Durzi, who has scored four goals and 14 assists in 26 games.

The Kings are coming off an embarassing 5-0 loss to the aforementioned Leafs, and will surely look to bounce back as they continue their Canadian road trip.

Jonathan Quick made the start for the Kings, and is expected to guard the net versus the Canadiens. Both Quick and backup goaltender Cal Petersen have struggled this season, owning a .887 and .868 save percentage, respectively.

Habs Angle

The Canadiens haven’t played since Tuesday’s win against the Seattle Kraken, and thus have enjoyed a small, yet timely break in their schedule.

As it stands, the Canadiens’ injury list seems to be growing exponentially, which led to a lineup shuffle by head coach Martin St-Louis.

Mike Matheson, who missed practice on Friday, but returned on Saturday morning, will be out for tonight’s game, likely replaced by veteran defenceman Chris Wideman.

In a shocking turn of events, St-Louis broke up the top line and slid Kirby Dach back down to centre, while promoting Josh Anderson back up to the top line.

On the bright side, the injuries have led to an uptick in ice time for the first overall pick at the 2022 Draft, not to mention better linemates.

With three points in his last four games, Juraj Slafkovsky has taken advantage of the opportunity and has quickly established himself as an important presence in the top six.

With Brendan Gallagher now on IR, the Canadiens were able to activate Mike Hoffman, who will be joining Dach and Slafkovsky on the Canadiens’ second line for the night.

Jake Allen will be getting the start tonight, as the veteran goaltender attempts to build off his last two performances in Calgary and Seattle.

Canadiens Injuries

  • Sean Monahan (Unconfirmed)
  • David Savard (day-to-day)
  • Brendan Gallagher (2 weeks)
  • Jonathan Drouin (upper-body injury, 4-6 weeks)
  • Carey Price (LTIR)
  • Paul Byron (LTIR)

Los Angeles Kings Injuries

  • Brendan Lemieux (IR)
  • Jacob Ingham (IR)
  • Akil Thomas (IR)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

LWCRW
Josh AndersonNick SuzukiRem Pitlick
Mike HoffmanKirby DachJesse Ylönen
Owen BeckChristian DvorakEvgenii Dadonov
Micheal PezzettaAlex BelzileRafaël Harvey-Pinard
LDRD
Mike MathesonDavid Savard
Arber XhekajJustin Barron
Jordan HarrisJohnathan Kovacevic
Goalie
Jake Allen
Samuel Montembeault

Los Angeles Kings Projected Roster

Fiala – Kopitar – Vilardi

Moore – Danault – Arvidsson

Iafallo – Kempe – Kaliyev

Grundstrom – Lizotte – Anderson-Dolan

Defence:

Anderson – Doughty

Durzi – Roy

Edler – Walker

Goalies:

Quick

Petersen

Special Teams

[table “18” not found /]

Game Notes:

  • With three goals in four games, Cole Caufield continues to lead the Montreal Canadiens in scoring with 15 goals on the season.
  • Juraj Slafkovsky has three points in his last four games, can he keep up this pace?
  • The Kings and Canadiens met twice last season, with both games resulting in losses for the Habs.
  • The Canadiens are slight favourites at -180 according to the latest NHL betting odds

How to Watch Or Listen

TV

NHLN, TVAS, CITY, SNE, BSW

Radio

Montreal Canadiens: TSN 69098,5FM

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