Canadiens Pre Game
Canadiens Game 70: Lines Shuffled, Drouin Expected To Play
The Montreal Canadiens (27-36-6) will look to regroup against the resurging Tampa Bay Lightning (41-22-6) on Saturday night at Amalie Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Canadiens will quickly look to rebound from their 9-5 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday when they face their other Florida-based rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This meeting will be the first leg of a home-and-home matchup between the two teams, and you can expect that it will quickly become a heated affair.
After allowing more than 21 goals over their last three games, the Canadiens’ defensive structure has seemingly fallen apart down the stretch.
They’ll have to do it without Kaiden Guhle however, as the Canadiens confirmed that the 21-year-old is injured and will be unable to play in tonight’s game. Chris Wideman is expected to replace him in the lineup.
Jonathan Drouin, who was sent back to the hotel yesterday for showing up late to a team meeting, is expected to play; given the injury to Guhle.
Back To Basics
Head coach Martin St-Louis has spoken about his desire to get back to the game plan and focus on playing their game in their own zone; rather than chasing their opponents.
The real question, for the first time this season, is going to be whether or not the Canadiens’ goaltending duo of Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault can rebound.
Montembeault will have the first crack at righting the ship tonight, as he is expected to start against the Lightning.
On a more positive note, there’s also been the sudden spike in goals the Canadiens are also scoring, as they’ve registered 15 goals in their last three games.
Leading the charge has been veteran forward Josh Anderson, who is on pace to reach 26 goals for the first time since his breakout 27-goal performance in 2018-2019.
The 28-year-old forward has stepped up in a big way of late by providing the Canadiens with some timely offence when needed, but also diversifying his play by adding more of a play-driving aspect to his game.
He currently leads the Canadiens offensively over the last five games with three goals and two assists and continues to be a strong veteran presence in the locker room.
Defensively, Mike Matheson is putting on a remarkable offensive season.
His offensive production of seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points in 35 games has been nothing short of impressive; as it translates to a 54-point pace over an 82-game season.
He leads all Canadiens defencemen in offence and average ice time, despite missing 34 games this season with lower-body injuries.
Things looked to be going downhill for the Tampa Bay Lightning after they dropped five straight games in early March.
Head coach Jon Cooper was benching his star players, and Victor Hedman went down with an injury; things were looking grim.
And then, as Tampa Bay always seems to do, they found a way out of their late-season funk and have returned to their winning ways.
A big reason for that has been the underrated offensive performance of Brayden Point this season.
The 27-year-old has put up 43 goals and 37 points for 80 points in just 69 games this season; leading the Lightning in goal-scoring by a 14-goal margin.
On the defensive side, Mikhail Sergachev has risen to the occasion to take on a more prominent role offensively for the Lightning with Hedman being eased back into the lineup.
The 24-year-old has registered seven assists in his last five games. His recent offensive outburst is nothing new however, as he counts seven goals and 44 assists for 51 points in just 67 games on the season.
It’s been a big year for Sergachev, who has taken on more responsibility with the departure of Ryan McDonaugh, and he is seemingly thriving in his new role.
After a strong string of games of late, the Lightning decided to give Andrei Vasilevski the night off, instead choosing veteran backup Brian Elliott to backstop the club against the Canadiens.
With the Lightning now back to their winning ways, they are considered a -340 favourite in tonight’s game according to recent NHL betting odds.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game:
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Kaiden Guhle (Injured)
- Joel Armia (Day-To-Day)
- Kirby Dach (Out Indefinitely)
- Christian Dvorak (Injured Reserve)
- 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)
Tampa Bay Lightning Injuries
Montreal Canadiens Previous Lineup
|Rafaël Harvey-Pinard||Nick Suzuki||Kirby Dach|
|Denis Gurianov||Jonathan Drouin||Josh Anderson|
|Mike Hoffman||Alex Belzile||Brendan Gallagher|
|Micheal Pezzetta||Chris Tierney||Rem Pitlick|
|Mike Matheson||David Savard|
|Joel Edmundson||Justin Barron|
|Chris Wideman||Johnathan Kovacevic|
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lineup
|Team||PP %||PK %|
|Montreal Canadiens||16.3% (30th)||72.5% (30th)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||25.5% (2nd)||79.8% (15th)|