Canadiens Pre Game
Canadiens Game 73: Tank Battle, Harris Could Return To Play
The Montreal Canadiens (28-38-6) face the Columbus Blue Jackets (23-41-7) at the Bell Centre Saturday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET.
Columbus represents the last time Montreal will face a team that is currently below them in the standings, which also means it’s one of the few remaining times this season the Canadiens will have healthy odds of emerging with a win.
But despite having the second-fewest points in the NHL, the Blue Jackets have been on a tear lately.
Well, relatively speaking, anyhow.
They’ve won their last two games, both of which required overtime.
It may not sound like much, but for a team that only has 23 wins in 71 games, consecutive wins are few and far between.
Patrick Laine currently leads all Blue Jackets in scoring, with six points in his last five games. All but one of his points have come in the form of assists. With three goals in the same span, including the game-winning goal Friday night against the New York Islanders, Boone Jenner is the player to watch in the defensive zone.
MUST READ: Tank Watch – Habs Trending Toward Good Draft Pick
As for the Canadiens, captain Nick Suzuki leads the way offensively, having registered a point six times in the last five outings, whereas Mike Matheson continues to produce from the backend, with two goals in the last five games.
The good news for Matheson is that he’ll be able to count on offensive support from Kirby Dach, who has been a dominant presence since recovering from a lower-body injury that somehow started as an upper-body injury.
Dach has scored two goals and added an assist in the two games he’s played in March.
Mike Matheson put the puck in the perfect spot and Kirby Dach makes it a 3-2 game! pic.twitter.com/DNs53GyOAr
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 24, 2023
Defenceman Jordan Harris was spotted practicing alongside fellow rookie Johnathan Kovacevic, and so we should not be surprised if the talented blueliner plays his first game since Mar.7.
Samuel Montembeault is expected to receive the start for the Canadiens.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Kaiden Guhle (Injured)
- Josh Anderson (Injured)
- Joel Armia (Day-To-Day)
- Christian Dvorak (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)
Columbus Blue Jackets Injuries
- Jake Bean (Injured Reserve)
- Justin Danforth (Injured Reserve)
Montreal Canadiens Projected 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|
Columbus Blue Jackets Injuries
Gaudreau – Jenner – Marchenko
Foudy – Roslovic – Johnson
Robinson – Kuraly – Olivier
Pederson – McKown – Bemstrom
Boqvist – Gudbranson
Berni – Peeke
Bayreuther – Blankenburg
|Team||PP %||PK %|
|Montreal Canadiens||16.3% (28th)||72.1% (29th)|
|Boston Bruins||22.7% (11th)||87.1% (1st)|
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Just a FYI… Laine is out the next 2-4 weeks with a triceps injury, so he won’t be a factor tonight.
It’s these games we’ll look back on for the next decade plus if we don’t win the draft lottery and Bedard ends up with a team presently below us in the standings. We’ve won a combined 6 games vs Arizona, San Jose, Chicago and Columbus this season amounting to an extra 12 points in the standings. Had we lost those games, we’d be 5 points clear of the 31st place team and firmly entrenched with the best odds to land Bedard. That’s it. Only six meaningless games in a lost season due to injuries anyway. Losing those games would have had absolutely zero effect on the development of our prospects and supporters of the “losing culture” argument. The only effect losing those games would have had on this franchise is give us the best chance to add a player to our team like we haven’t seen since Lafleur.