The Montreal Canadiens (5-4-2) are set to host the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-4) on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
The Habs did not manage to win on Saturday night against the St-Louis Blues, but at the very least, 19-year-old forward Juraj Slafkovsky scored a powerplay goal, which should serve as a much-needed confidence boost.
As for 5v5 play, Slafkovsky was used on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. They controlled over 50 percent of the shots, as well as the high-danger chances. It’s an encouraging sign given that few players have managed to find chemistry with the Canadiens’ best duo.
The team also did a much better job from a discipline standpoint, though that’s not a considerable accomplishment when you consider they were taking roughly 150 penalties per game.
Unfortunately, the second line continued to struggle, and this time around it clearly had nothing to do with Slafkovsky’s play. Both Josh Anderson and Alex Newhook have looked lost since Kirby Dach was forced to miss the remainder of the season with an ACL/MCL injury.
Caufield currently leads the Canadiens in scoring with 11 points in 11 games, followed by Monahan, who has 10 points, and Suzuki, who has scored three goals and six assists.
It should be noted that forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard took part in the optional morning skate, indicating that his injury is not as severe as previously expected.
Samuel Montembeault is expected given the start for the Habs, with Jake Allen serving as his backup.
We will have to wait until the pre-game skate to confirm the starting goaltenders, as well as the lines.
The rested Canadiens will once again face an opponent that has played the previous night. However, it’s worth keeping in mind the Canadiens’ advantageous schedule didn’t work to the team’s advantage against the Arizona Coyotes or the St-Louis Blues.
The Lightning seemed to be poised to take down the star-studded Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, but their strong start was all for naught, as the Leafs corralled their forces to emerge with a 6-5 overtime win.
As it stands, Nikita Kucherov leads the Lightning with an impressive nine goals and 11 assists in 12 games, though we should not ignore Victor Hedman’s three goals and 11 assists over the same stretch of games. Former Hab Mikhail Sergachev is yet to find the back of the net this season, with just six assists in a dozen matchups.
Seeing as goaltender Jonas Johansson faced Toronto, Matt Tomkins is expected to be given the second leg of the Lightning’s back-to-back games.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- David Savard (out 6-8 weeks)
- Rafael Harvey-Pinard (day-to-day)
- Carey Price (IR)
- Chris Wideman (IR)
- Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Andrei Vasilevskiy (week-to-week)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
|Alex Newhook||Nick Suzuki||Brendan Gallagher|
|Cole Caufield||Christian Dvorak||Juraj Slafkovsky|
|Josh Anderson||Sean Monahan||Tanner Pearson|
|Joel Armia||Jake Evans||Jesse Ylonen|
|Mike Matheson||Justin Barron|
|Kaiden Guhle||Gustav Lindstrom|
|Jayden Struble||Johnathan Kovacevic|
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lineup
Hagel – Point – Kucherov
Stamkos – Paul – Sheary
Barre-Boulet – Cirelli – Motte
Jeannot – Glendening – Eyssimont
Hedman – Cernak
Sergachev – Raddysh
de Haan – Perbix