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Canadiens Pre Game

Canadiens Game 52: Top Line Is Cooking, Joshua Roy Returns

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens (21-22-8) are set to play the St.Louis Blues  (27-21-2) at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 1 pm ET. The early start time is part of the Superbowl schedule, which almost always sees the Canadiens play a pair of matinee games at the Bell Centre.

The early games give families a perfect and rare opportunity to attend a game without blowing their budget or ruining their children’s sleep schedules.

The Habs are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday, but despite the loss, there were several positive aspects to the game, including Juraj Slafkovsky’s fourth goal in three games. The other two members of the top line are also enjoying a hot streak, as Cole Caufield has registered at least one point in 11 straight games, while captain Nick Suzuki has earned 10 points in his last six games.

To put it simply, the top line continues to be a dominant presence on a team that struggles to maintain possession.

MUST READ: Canadiens Analysis: Slafkovsky Development Since Usage Change

In addition to the first line continuing to drive the offence, speedster Alex Newhook returned from his lower-body injury and immediately added a much-needed energy boost to the lineup.

Newhook, along with Brandon Gignac and Mike Matheson, improved the Canadiens’ rush chances, an area of weakness for Martin St-Louis’ team. Rush chances have higher odds of scoring than a normal play, and that’s where Newhook’s impact will be felt moving forward.

Unfortunately, the Habs suffered what looked like yet another serious injury when forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard was forced to leave the game. He could not put any pressure on his leg and looked to be in significant pain. Harvey-Pinard had recently recovered from a lower-body injury that kept him out of the lineup for almost two months.

Consequently, the team announced they had recalled their top forward prospect, Joshua Roy, shortly after the game.

The Canadiens will be facing a Blues club that also played on Saturday, which may lead to a sloppy game given both teams are tired. St.Louis was in Buffalo where they beat the Sabres by a score of 3-2 thanks to two goals from winger Jake Neighbours.

St.Louis is currently hanging on to the last wildcard spot in the Western Conference, which has added a certain sense of urgency to their play. Even though they still have a negative goal difference, the Blues have only lost three of their last 10 games.

Robert Thomas continues to play a smooth style, as evidenced by his 17 goals and 36 assists in 50 games. After Thoms, there’s a significant drop in production, as Pavel Buchnevich is the second-highest scorer on the team with 17 goals and 23 assists. Defenceman Torey Krug leads the offensive charge from the blueline, with just one goal and 19 assists.

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

  • Carey Price (IR)
  • Chris Wideman (IR)
  • Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
  • Rafael Harvey-Pinard (out)
  • Christian Dvorak (out)

St.Louis Blues Injuries

  • Justin Faulk (IR)
  • Scott Perunovich (out)
  • Joshua Jacobs (IR)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

LWCRW
Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiJuraj Slafkovsky
Joshua RoyAlex NewhookJosh Anderson
Tanner PearsonJake EvansJoel Armia
Jesse YlonenBrandon GignacBrendan Gallagher
LDRD
Mike MathesonKaiden Guhle
Jayden StrubleJordan Harris
Arber XhekajDavid Savard
Goalie
Jake Allen
Cayden Primeau

St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup

Buchnevich – Thomas – Kyrou

Neighbours – Schenn – Kapanen

Saad – Hayes – Blais

Toropchenko – Sundqvist – Walker

Defence

Leddy – Parayko

Krug – Kessel

Rosen – Scandella

Goalie

Hofer

 

How to Watch Or Listen

TV

TSN2, RDS

Radio

Montreal Candiens: TSN 690

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