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Canadiens Pre Game

Habs Game 75: Cayden Primeau To Start Versus Lightning

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Montreal Canadiens vs. Lightning

The Montreal Canadiens (29-33-12) are set to host the Tampa Bay Lightning (41-26-7) at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

The Habs are coming off an impressive 5-3 win against the Florida Panthers, a game that featured a complete team effort for 60 minutes, something that’s been rather rare this season.

Florida faced the Toronto Maple Leafs the previous night, which means the Canadiens were certainly facing a vulnerable team, but given their discrepancy in the standings as well as the issues the Habs have had in previous outings versus the Panthers, it would be intellectually dishonest to dismiss the win completely.

There was much more than just travel at play on Tuesday night. Montreal held a 16-7 advantage in high-danger chances. This means they controlled over 69 percent of the quality scoring chances.

The main catalyst in the win was once again Nick Suzuki. The Canadiens captain hasn’t just had a solid season, he’s improved almost every aspect of his play. And though some may credit his linemates for the higher scoring pace, Suzuki is the one who has kept both Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky above water.

Yes, Caufield and Slafkovsky are better than the other linemates Suzuki has played with in the past, but that’s not saying much. Truth be told, they’re the ones who have benefited from playing with Suzuki, not the other way around.

MUST READ: Canadiens Analysis: Suzuki’s Breakout Year & Future Projections

The only lineup change made by head coach Martin St-Louis is that goaltender Cayden Primeau will be given the start.

As for the Lightning, they’re no longer one of the best teams in the NHL, but we may have overestimated how quickly their demise would take place. They’re sitting comfortably in the first wildcard spot in the East, and they’ve managed to win eight of their last 10 games.

They also played on Wednesday in Toronto, giving the Habs another good opportunity to win a game against an opponent that has traditionally dominated them during the regular season.

Nikita Kucherov continues to lead the charge from an offensive standpoint. While it’s clear he’s not exactly the most affable character in the NHL, he is one of the best players, as evidenced by his 42 goals and 85 assists this season. In 35 career games against Montreal, Kucherov has maintained a point-per-game pace, with 14 goals and 25 assists.

Beyond Kucherov, the Lightning have been uplifted by the usual suspects, including Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and Steven Stamkos.

That being said, we should not discount Brandon Hagel’s impact, as the 25-year-old winger has registered 23 goals and 44 assists this season.

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

  • Carey Price (IR)
  • Chris Wideman (IR)
  • Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
  • Christian Dvorak (day-to-day)
  • Joshua Roy (4-6 weeks)

Tampa Bay Lightning Injuries

  • Jonas Johansson (out)
  • Mikhail Sergachev (IR)
  • Logan Brown (IR)

 

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

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

 

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lineup

Duclair – Point – Kucherov

Stamkos – Cirelli – Hagel

Eyssimont – Paul – Chaffee

Jeannot – Glendenning – Motte

Defence

Hedman – Raddysh

Fleury – Cernak

Martinsen-Lilleberg – Dumba

Goalie

Vasilevskiy

 

How to Watch

TV

TSN2, RDS

*statistics current as of April 3rd, 2024.