Canadiens Pre Game
Game 49: Jake Allen Returns, Kirby Dach On Fire, Reverse Retro
The Montreal Canadiens (20-25-3) face the Detroit Red Wings (20-18-8) in an Original Six match-up on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM ET.
Not only are the Canadiens’ Reverse Retro jerseys returning tonight, but so is Jake Allen.
Allen is set to make his return in front of the Canadiens’ net tonight, his first start since January 7. Samuel Montembeault has been stellar for the Canadiens in Allen’s absence, but he’s earned a rest after a very eventful month of January.
For Allen, he needs to now keep pace with the performances Montebeault has put up and get back to some more consistent performances. Prior to his injury, Allen posted an 0.892 save percentage and a 3.52 goals-against average; two crucial stats he will look to improve on in the coming weeks.
After a dip in performance during the month of December saw him register just 6 points in 15 games, Kirby Dach has come back in full force in January with 8 points through nine games.
His 31 points through 48 games put him on pace to score roughly 53 points this season, but, given the increased role in the face of all these injuries, he may surpass that number.
The Canadiens’ young defence of Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron have all quietly begun to make their place in the NHL and have played a far more structured and tight defensive game as of late.
Facing tough opponents like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins over the last week, the Canadiens’ youngsters were able to gain in confidence after every shift.
Although they had to be bailed out by the brilliant performances of Montembeault from time to time, the young defenders were quickly on the ice the next shift and playing harder and faster; a positive sign in their progression.
Motor City Meltdown
Since December, the Detroit Red Wings have lost some major ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race. After a hot start to the year that saw them firmly in the playoff picture, the Red Wings have slid right out of the race and are now eight points out of a playoff spot.
One of their bright spots of late has been the resurgence of Lucas Raymond, who had a very slow start to his sophomore year, posting 14 points in his last 14 games for Detroit. The 20-year-old has found some solid chemistry on the top line with captain Dylan Larkin, who leads the Red Wings in scoring with 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points in 45 games.
Despite a solid team effort, goaltending has been the Red Wings’ Achilles Heel this season. Ville Husso, whom the Red Wings signed this summer after acquiring his rights from the St. Louis Blues, hasn’t been able to replicate his numbers in the Motor City, posting a 0.902 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against average.
After Husso, it doesn’t get much better, as the Red Wings were forced to waive underperforming goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and have been utilizing Magnus Hellberg as a backup for the time being.
If Detroit is going to have any chance at getting back in the tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to need more consistency from their netminders.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Kaiden Guhle (Injured Reserve)
- Brendan Gallagher (Injured Reserve)
- Joel Armia (Injured Reserve)
- Jake Evans (Injured Reserve)
- Juraj Slafkovsky (Injured Reserve)
- Jonathan Drouin (Injured Reserve)
- Cole Caufield (Injured Reserve)
- Sean Monahan (LTIR)
- Carey Price (LTIR)
- Paul Byron (LTIR)
Detroit Red Wings Injuries
- Filip Zadina (Injured Reserve)
- Matt Luff (Injured Reserve)
- Mark Pysyk (Day-To-Day)
- Tyler Bertuzzi (Day-To-Day)
Montreal Canadiens Previous Lineup
|Mike Hoffman||Nick Suzuki||Joel Armia|
|Sean Farrell||Jonathan Drouin||Denis Gurianov
|Rem Pitlick||Jake Evans||Brendan Gallagher|
|Micheal Pezzetta||Chris Tierney||Joel Teasdale|
|Mike Matheson||Justin Barron|
|Joel Edmundson||Chris Wideman|
|Frederic Allard||Jonathan Kovacevic|
Detroit Red Wings Projected Lineup
|Team||PP %||PK %|
|Montreal Canadiens||16.3% (28th)||72.1% (29th)|
|Boston Bruins||22.7% (11th)||87.1% (1st)|
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