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Canadiens Pre Game

Canadiens Game 33: Top Line Reunited, Drouin At Centre

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Canadiens vs Avalanche

The Montreal Canadiens (15-15-2) face the Colorado Avalanche (17-11-2) on Wednesday night at the Ball Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 8 PM ET.

Following a relatively sleepy start to the season, the defending Stanley Cup Champions have found their rhythm in recent weeks and will look to earn their third win in a row as they face the Canadiens.

The Avalanche have a laundry list of talented players on the mend, including Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Bowen Byram.

Fortunately for Colorado, their lineup depth allows them to compensate for the lost talent.

Mikko Rantanen is up to his usual tricks, leading the Avalanche in scoring with 20 goals and 17 assists in 30 games this year, not to mention five points in his last five games.

Norris-winner Cale Makar leads the charge on the backend, with seven goals and 21 assists.

Former Canadiens fan favourite Artturi Lehkonen continues to produce at a much higher scoring pace than he did with his former team, mostly because he’s being used in a situation that isn’t purely defensive.

Lehkonen has eight goals and 13 assists in 27 games this season and is currently playing on the Avalanche’s top line.

Even with the missing players, the Canadiens will have their work cut out for them, particularly when it comes to scoring goals. The Avalanche rank fifth in the NHL for goals allowed per game.

Alexandar Georgiev is expected to make the start for Colorado.

Habs Angle

The Canadiens put an end to their frustrating losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.

With three goals in his last five games, Cole Caufield has been the most potent offensive weapon in the Habs lineup recently, followed closely by Kirby Dach, who also has three points in his last five games.

The Canadiens continue to struggle when it comes to creating high-danger chances and currently rank among the bottom five teams in the league with a paltry 43.1 percent control of the quality chances this season.

Dach was returned to the top line following yet another failed experiment that saw Josh Anderson predictably struggle to produce.

Jonathan Drouin will line up in the middle of the second line, playing between Juraj Slafkovsky and Anderson.

Anthony Richard made his Habs debut on Monday night, and despite creating a healthy number of scoring chances in limited ice time which led to an in-game promotion, Richard is back on the fourth line ahead of the game against the Avalanche.

Jake Allen is expected to start the game for the Canadiens.

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)

Colorado Avalanche Injuries

  • Nathan MacKinnon (January)
  • Andrew Cogliano (day-to-day)
  • Darren Helm (IR)
  • Gabriel Landeskog (IR)
  • Josh Manson (IR)
  • Bowen Byram (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

Colorado Avalanche Projected Roster

Lehkonen – Compher – Rantanen

Newhook – Rodrigues – Nichushkin

Cogliano – Meyers – O’Connor

MacDermid – Kaut – MacDonald

Defence:

Toews – Makar

Girard – Johnson

Englund – Hunt

Goalies:

Georgiev

Francouz

Special Teams

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Game Notes:

  • Nick Suzuki has fallen below a point per game for the first time since October. Suzuki has 15 goals and 16 assists in 32 games.
  • Jake Allen is 9-12-0 this season with a .897 save percentage.
  • With four goals this season, Arber Xhekaj leads all rookie defencemen in goal scoring.

How to Watch Or Listen

TV

SN, ALT, RDS

Radio

Montreal Canadiens: TSN 69098,5FM

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