The Montreal Canadiens (14-15-2) face the Arizona Coyotes (10-15-4) on Monday night at the Mullet Arena in Tempe. The puck drop is scheduled for 10:00 PM ET.
The Coyotes are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, and have won just three of their last 10 games. They’re currently seventh in the Central Division, ahead of the lowly Chicago Blackhawks.
Clayton Keller leads the Coyotes in scoring, with 12 goals and 17 in 29 games, followed by defenceman Shayne Shayne Gostisbehere, who has eight goals and 15 assists, and rookie Matias Maccelli, who has scored twice and added 19 assists.
As it stands, the Coyotes have the second-worst shot control percentage in the league, at just 42.4 percent, as well as an underwhelming 39.5 percent xGF%.
2015 first-round pick Lawson Crouse has found his rhythm this season, relatively speaking. He has 13 goals and 3 assists in 28 games and is on pace to reach the 35-point mark for the first time in his career.
Karel Vejmelka is expected to make the start for the Coyotes. He’s 9-8-3 this season with two shutouts and a .911 save percentage.
Things aren’t going much better for the Canadiens. Following a strong start to the season, the Habs have struggled to find chemistry, particularly since centre Sean Monahan fell to injury after playing a few games with an already injured foot.
They’ve lost three games in a row, and like the Coyotes, have only won three of their last 10 games. Their losing streak has pushed them to the bottom of the Atlantic Division, and in contention for a lottery pick at the 2023 Entry Draft.
Jordan Harris has been excellent for the Canadiens of late. With three points in his last five games, he’s tied for the team lead in points in that span.
With three goals in five games, Cole Caufield joins Harris as one of the hottest Canadiens.
He may get some secondary scoring support in the form of a talented forward that spent the majority of the season with the Laval Rocket: Anthony Richard.
Richard, 25, leads the AHL in goal scoring with an impressive 18 goals in 27 games, owing to his affinity for playing every single shift as if it were his last.
He has a very deceptive release, which he pairs with fantastic accuracy to wreak havoc on AHL goalies.
Richard is expected to play with Jake Evans and Joel Armia. To make room for Richard’s arrival, Rem Pitlick was assigned to the Laval Rocket.
Jake Allen (9-12-0) is expected to start for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens also announced Mike Matheson did not make the trip to Arizona, and will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
Le défenseur Mike Matheson est resté à Montréal pour un suivi médical. Il sera absent pour une durée indéterminée en raison d'une blessure au bas du corps.
Defenseman Mike Matheson stayed in Montreal for a medical follow-up. He will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 19, 2022
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Mike Matheson (indefinitely)
- Sean Monahan (2 weeks)
- David Savard (day-to-day)
- Brendan Gallagher (2 weeks)
- Carey Price (LTIR)
- Paul Byron (LTIR)
- Liam O’Brien (out)
- Andrew Ladd (IR)
- Bryan Little (IR)
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|
Arizona Coyotes Projected Lineup
Keller – Boyd – Schmaltz
Crouse – Bjugstad – Macelli
Ritchie – McBain – Fischer
Valimaki – Hayton – Jenik
Chychrun – Gostisbehere
Moser – Brown
Nemeth – Stetcher
Special Teams[table “18” not found /]
- Josh Anderson will play on the top line once again, however, it’s worth pointing out that both he and his linemates perform worse when he plays alongside Suzuki and Caufield.
- This will be Anthony Richard’s third NHL game. He previously played a single game for the Nashville Predators in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- Nick Suzuki continues to lead the Habs in scoring with 15 goals and 16 assists in 31 games.