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Canadiens Pre Game

Canadiens Game 68: Pezzetta and Kovacevic Return To Lineup



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens (25-31-11) are set to face the Edmonton Oilers (40-21-4) at Rogers Place. The puck drop is scheduled for 9 pm ET.

Montreal is coming off a 5-2 loss against the Calgary Flames in which the scoreline did not truly represent how they played. The Habs controlled the pace, producing more shots and high-danger scoring chances, but were let down by their chaotic defending.

Mike Matheson and Kaiden Guhle, in particular, had a very rough game.

As long as Guhle is used on his offside, there’s a strong chance his numbers continue to dip, but his usage is important to remember when analyzing his results.

On top of playing on his offside, which mitigates his puck recovery and breakout skills, Guhle faces the opposing team’s best players on a nightly basis.

When you add Matheson’s penchant for abandoning defensive responsibilities in favour of offensive opportunities to the mix, it’s clear that Guhle is given some of the most difficult minutes in the organization.

It’s easy to forget given his maturity, but Guhle only turned 22 in January.

Speaking of young players, Juraj Slafkovsky is currently the Canadiens’ hottest scorer, with five points in his last five games. The most productive goal-scorer over that stretch has been Joshua Roy, with two goals. It’s encouraging since Roy has the potential to become a key part of the organization’s top six, but it also points to a collapse in scoring from the rest of the lineup.

That being said, Cole Caufield did manage to score his 20th goal of the season against the Flames, and given that he’s taking a bevy of shots from high-scoring areas, that number is likely to go up between now and the end of the season.

MUST READ: Reasons Why Canadiens Fans Shouldn’t Worry About Caufield

Goaltender Samuel Montembeault will be given the start against the Oilers, while Michael Pezzetta and Johnathan Kovacevic will replace Tanner Pearson and Jayden Sruble in the lineup.

As for the Oilers, they’re impressively healthy, which has certainly helped them climb the NHL standings this season.

But more than perfect health, the Oilers have two of the most dominant NHL forwards in their lineup.

Connor McDavid is doing what Connor McDavid does best: produce at an impressive rate.

The 27-year-old centre has 25 goals and 81 assists in just 63 games this season. Even if you removed his 25 goals, McDavid still has 18 more points than the Canadiens’ top scorer, Nick Suzuki. And Suzuki has 10 more points than the next closest forward on the Canadiens’ roster, Cole Caufield.

Simply put, McDavid continues to show us why he’s one of the best players in the history of the NHL.

The Habs have done a reasonably good job shutting him down during his career. And by reasonably, I mean you can’t stop McDavid, but if you work very hard you can mitigate some of his offensive prowess.

In 24 games versus the Canadiens McDavid has *only* scored eight goals and 22 assists, well below his usual scoring pace of 1.5 points per game. Beyond McDavid, the Habs will also have to closely monitor Leon Draisaitl. He hasn’t been as dominant as McDavid this season, but he has still managed to score 33 goals and 53 assists in 65 games.

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

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

Edmonton Oilers Injuries

  • None

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiJuraj Slafkovsky
Brendan GallagherAlex NewhookJoel Armia
Jesse YlonenJake EvansJosh Anderson
Michael PezzettaChristian DvorakRafael Harvey-Pinard
Mike MathesonJustin Barron
Lane HutsonDavid Savard
Jordan HarrisLogan Mailloux
Samuel Montembeault
Cayden Primeau


Edmonton Oilers Projected Lineup

Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman

McLeod – Draisaitl- Foegle

Kane – Henrique – Brown

Janmark – Carrick – Perry


Ekholm – Bouchard

Nurse – Stetcher

Kulak – Ceci




How to Watch


CityTV, TVA Sports