First, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephen Demone and I'm taking over the game threads for Mark Black. I'm a novelist, and more notably, a huge Habs fan. My basement growing up in Kingston, Ontario was a tabernacle adorned for the Montreal Canadiens with banners, team pictures, and lot of stuff from 1993 signed by Kirk Muller who was kind of a family friend as my Dad worked with his brother. I love the Habs. I've laughed (2008-09), I've cried (2011-12), I've celebrated a few minor victories, mostly against the Bruins who I've hated since Kyle McLaren straight-armed Richard Zenik in 2002. Enough about me, let's get to the game thread.
Habs fans have a lot to look forward to this year. Coming off another win Tuesday night in sunny Florida - albeit another one of those wins with many little losses in it - Les Habitants look to kick off the new year with a fifth win in a row (a fourth on the road) against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at the Prudential Center.
The Habs will face a lineup that features the likes of Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and Michael Ryder. The Devils are currently decimated with injuries, and recently fired their head coach Peter DeBoer. Now, with three different coaches behind the bench, including General Manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils may be descending the standings after seeing how great Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have looked at the World Junior Tournament. Their current roster is not exactly electrifying. Jaromir Jagr leads the team with 21 points and will likely play on a line centered tonight by Scott Gomez, who somehow finds himself on the top line of an NHL team once again.
This is the first game of back to back games for the Habs who will end their road trip tomorrow night in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. Carey Price will make his 400th career start tonight, joining Jacques Plante and Patrick Roy as the only two netminders to play that many starts with the Montreal Canadiens. This may end up being a defensive battle, a "slug-fest" of clogged neutral zone play, but one where the Habs will be able to use their skill and speed to break open the clog and deposit some timely goals. This is another game the Habs should win, but I'm sure they'll find a way to keep it interesting... and keep their coach smiling.
This is game four of a five game road trip for the Habs. They hit the ice tonight at 7:00PM EST.
In Canada (English): Sportsnet East
In Canada (French): RDS
In the Devils' Region: MSG
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live
|Max Pacioretty||Alex Galchenyuk||Brendan Gallagher|
|David Desharnais||Tomas Plekanec||P.A. Parenteau|
|Jiri Sekac||Lars Eller||Brandon Prust|
|Michael Bournival||Sven Andrighetto||Dale Weise|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Sergei Gonchar|
|Alexei Emelin||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver, Bryan Allen
As for the New Jersey Devils here's how Lou Lamerillo's team will come together tonight:
|Dainius Zubrus||Scott Gomez||Jaromir Jagr|
|Mike Cammalleri||Travis Zajac||Mike Sislo|
|Tuomo Ruutu||Adam Henrique||Steve Bernier|
|Stefan Matteau||Joe Whitney||Martin Havlat|
|Andy Greene||Peter Harrold|
|Jon Merrill||Marek Zidlicky|
|Adam Larsson||Eric Gelinas|
Scratched: Seth Helgeson, Michael Ryder
Injuries: Ryan Clowe (concussion), Patrick Elias (mumps), Stephen Gionta (broken hand), Martin Havlat (illness), Jacob Josefson (illness), Bryce Salvador (lower-body), Damon Severson (ankle)
Check out the opposing side at In Lou We Trust.