Canadiens Pre Game
Canadiens Game 67: Lehkonen Returns, Lines Shake-Up
The Montreal Canadiens (26-34-7) get ready for the first leg of a back-to-back against the Colorado Avalanche (36-22-6) on Monday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Canadiens will be welcoming an old friend back to the Bell Centre tonight in Artturi Lehkonen.
The former Canadiens winger will be making his long-awaited return to the Bell Centre, for the first time since being traded on March 21, 2022.
It won’t be an easy task for the Canadiens, as the Colorado Avalanche have been rolling of late, with Cale Makar leading the charge with seven points in his last five games.
After overcoming a few bouts with concussion-like symptoms, the former Norris Trophy winner has come back to form in a big way; helping the Avalanche vault themselves back into the playoff race in the Western Conference.
Nathan MacKinnon has been no slouch during this process either, with the star centre putting up four goals and two assists in his last four games; all while playing an average of over 20 minutes a game.
Despite some elite performances from their top players, the Avalanche have had some difficulty of late in stringing along consecutive victories, dropping four of their last six games against top teams in the NHL.
They’ll be sure to be hungry against a decimated Canadiens roster that has been riddled with injury all season.
Fight To The Bitter End
The Canadiens only had seven skaters in their lineup that figured into their opening lineup due to a ridiculous string of injuries.
Nonetheless, the Canadiens have found a way to power through and remain adequately competitive during this process; not showing signs of demoralization often seen in bottom-feeding teams.
Much of the club’s success of late has been fueled by lesser-known players attempting to make a name for themselves, like Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Alex Belzile; but also youngsters that are rising through the ranks to seize the opportunity, like Kaiden Guhle.
Since returning from a long-term injury in late February, Guhle has picked up right where he left off.
The 21-year-old has been averaging 20 minutes of ice time per game and is routinely asked to face the opposition’s top players.
He’s sure to have his hands full tonight, as the Avalanche’s potent top six is sure to give him some headaches, but he won’t be doing it alone.
Mike Matheson, the Canadiens’ emerging leader on the back end, is likely to see a lot of ice against the speedy MacKinnon.
The 29-year-old defenceman has seen his ice time skyrocket over the last month, going from an average of 22 minutes a game to 25 minutes a game over the last month.
He’s repaid head coach Martin St-Louis’ confidence with some exceptional performances; looking like the most dynamic player on the ice and greatly elevating his defensive game in the process.
Justin Barron, the key piece the Canadiens received in the Lehkonen trade, joined the Canadiens in a full-contact jersey for practice today and looks primed to make his return to the lineup soon.
Jake Allen, who put on a stellar performance for the Canadiens against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, is expected to start in net for the Canadiens again tonight.
Your pre-game analysis below:
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Chris Wideman (Week-To-Week)
- Joel Armia (Day-To-Day)
- Christian Dvorak (Injured)
- Jordan Harris (Day-To-Day)
- Kirby Dach (Out Indefinitely)
- Brendan Gallagher (Injured Reserve)
- Jake Evans (Injured Reserve)
- Arber Xhekaj (Injured Reserve)
- Juraj Slafkovsky (Injured Reserve)
- Cole Caufield (Injured Reserve)
- Sean Monahan (LTIR)
- Carey Price (LTIR)
- Paul Byron (LTIR)
Colorado Avalanche Injuries
- Gabriel Landeskog (LTIR)
- Darren Helm (Injured Reserve)
- Erik Johnson (Injured Reserve)
- Josh Manson (Injured)
- Kurtis MacDermid (Day-To-Day)
- Pavel Francouz (Injured Reserve)
Montreal Canadiens Previous Lineup
|Rafaël Harvey-Pinard||Nick Suzuki||Mike Hoffman|
|Jonathan Drouin||Kirby Dach||Denis Gurianov|
|Jesse Ylönen||Jake Evans||Brendan Gallagher|
|Micheal Pezzetta||Chris Tierney||Alex Belzile|
|Mike Matheson||David Savard|
|Jordan Harris||Johnathan Kovacevic|
|Joel Edmundson||Justin Barron|
Colorado Avalanche Projected Lineup
|Team||PP %||PK %|
|Montreal Canadiens||17.1% (28th)||73.2% (29th)|
|Philadelphia Flyers||15.6% (32nd)||74.9% (27th)|
How to Watch Or Listen
Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NHLN
Montreal Canadiens: TSN 690 – 98,5FM
I’d love to see Slafkovsky sitting in the box with HuGo during the game while they point to Rantanen and say, “THAT’S what we want to see YOU become!” 😁
I hope the crowd gives Lehkonen a huge cheer during his tribute video and foregoes the stupid booing every time he touches the puck that happens whenever a player returns to Montreal after being traded or signing elsewhere. It’s such a lame “tradition”.
Happy to see Lehky get 2G and 1A tonight, but definitely a bummer that he busted his finger on the 2nd goal and will require surgery.