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Canadiens Game 69: Major NHL Draft Lottery Implications



Montreal Canadiens vs Florida Panthers

The Montreal Canadiens (27-35-6) get set to face the surging Florida Panthers (33-27-7) on Thursday night at the FLA Live Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00  p.m. ET.

After the Canadiens finally snapped their seven-game losing streak against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, they face another tough customer in the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

It’s an NHL Draft Lottery conundrum, as the Canadiens own both their own and Florida’s 1st-round pick for the 2023 NHL Draft.

A win for Montreal would certainly hurt the Panthers’ chances of making the playoffs; giving the Canadiens a second lottery pick, but a Panthers win would further cement the Canadiens’ slide to the bottom of the standings.

As we’ve seen this season, the Canadiens aren’t going to go down without putting up a fight; if not outright spoiling the evening for the better club.

Much of the Canadiens’ new energy has come from the growth and rapid development of their defensive brigade.

Mike Matheson, who has emerged as the Canadiens’ top defenceman since coming back from injury this season, has been the most utilized player on Montreal’s back end during this recent stretch.

The 29-year-old has helped the Canadiens redefine their transition game, while helping other young prospects along while mentoring them at even strength.

One of those prospects is Justin Barron, who registered two assists in his return to the lineup on Tuesday and continues to put up solid performances down the stretch..

The 21-year-old now has 11 points in his last 18 games with the Canadiens and has looked far more assertive with the puck as of late.

The youngster looks to be developing quite nicely after a rocky start to the season and can use the remaining games to further cement his status as an everyday NHL defender leading up to next season.

The Canadiens expect Jake Allen to start in tonight’s game, after being pulled in his last start against the Colorado Avalanche.

To Win Or Not To Win?

The Florida Panthers are in the midst of a heated race for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and are five points back of the New York Islanders with three games in hand.

The Panthers will attempt to make those points starting tonight against the Canadiens.

Matthew Tkachuk continues to be the unquestioned offensive leader of the team this season, posting two goals and six assists for eight points in his last five games.

The 25-year-old has already reached the 87-point mark and is on pace to hit 100 points for the second consecutive season.

However, the real breakout performance this season has been from Brandon Montour, who has absolutely exploded offensively this season.

The 28-year-old defenceman has registered 12 goals and 43 assists for 55 points in just 65 games this season, well ahead of Gustav Forsling (33) and Aaron Ekblad (28) for the lead in points among Panthers defencemen.

However, if the Panthers are going to have any luck against the Canadiens, they’ll need some consistent play out of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

The 34-year-old veteran netminder has been hot and cold as of late and has mostly been saved by the Panthers’ potent offensive corps this season.

Your full game preview below:

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

  • Joel Armia (Day-To-Day)
  • Christian Dvorak (Injured Reserve)
  • 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)

Florida Panthers Injuries

  • Patric Hornqvist (LTIR)

Montreal Canadiens Previous Lineup

Rafaël Harvey-PinardNick SuzukiKirby Dach
Denis GurianovJonathan DrouinJosh Anderson
Mike HoffmanAlex BelzileBrendan Gallagher
Micheal PezzettaChris TierneyRem Pitlick
Mike MathesonDavid Savard
Joel EdmundsonJustin Barron
Chris WidemanJohnathan Kovacevic
Samuel Montembeault
Jake Allen

Florida Panthers Projected Lineup












Special Teams

TeamPP %PK %
Montreal Canadiens 16.3% (30th)72.5% (30th)
Tampa Bay Lightning25.5% (2nd)79.8% (15th)

How to Watch Or Listen




Montreal Canadiens: TSN 69098,5FM

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The conundrum isn’t as big for me. The best players are at the top of the draft. I’d rather have our own pick be as low as possible to ensure we get the best player possible. Winning against the Panthers gets us further from that goal. Losing to the Panthers May increase the odds of their pick becoming a lottery pick, but the odds are so minute of winning the lottery, it’s extremely unlikely we move anywhere with that pick. Would you really have 2 good players or 1 elite and one good player? The latter is true for me, which is why I’d rather lose the games against Florida.


I just wanted to lose all the games but the Florida ones. So annoyed they beat pens and lost to Florida.

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