The Habs are off to an incredible start to the 2015-16 season. When a lot of us thought that last night's game in Buffalo was a potential trap that would put an end to their historic season-opening winning stream, the Canadiens put forth a 7-2 performance despite being outshot 36-26. The Canadiens now have 5 players with 8 points or more over the course of the last 8 games (in other words, they have 5 PPG players right now), and every player except for Tom Gilbert and Alexei Emelin has at least 1 point. Perhaps the most notable stat to this point in the season is that the Canadiens have only trailed for a grand total 2:57 all season long (in the 5th game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings, which is also the only game wherein the Canadiens did not score the 1st goal of the game).
All in all, it's been a pretty incredible start to the season. The Canadiens have a chance to extend their winning streak to 9 games tonight when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Bell Center for the first time this season. The Leafs have only won 1 game thus far in the season, against the Columbus Blue Jackets last week in Toronto. The Leafs last two contests were both 1-goal losses at the hands of Phil Kessel and the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. If the Leafs have one advantage coming into tonight's game it's that they are rested, having only played 2 games since last Saturday, while the Habs travelled back to Montreal from Buffalo last night.
The Leafs have actually been a decent possession-hockey team, boasting a CF% of of 51.5, meaning they generate more shots attempts than they allow. The fact that they are trailing more often than leading is a factor in this number, however, it's not like the games they have lost were out of reach before they had a chance - the Leafs are one of the top Shot Attempts % Close teams in the league, ranked 5th at 55.37%, meaning that they are forcing their opponents to defend shot attempts at one of the highest rates in the league when the games are close (when the games are within 1 goal or tied in the 3rd period).
All of that said, a Habs' victory tonight is not guaranteed. With the four-line system rolling through the season with the 3rd best Goals-For/Game average (3.75), and the number one Goals-Against-/Game average(1.13), it will be exciting to see who steps up tonight.
The puck drops at 7:00PM EDT.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): TVA
In Canada (English): CBC
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Lars Eller||Alex Galchenyuk||Alexander Semin|
|Tomas Fleischmann||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Brian Flynn||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, Paul Byron
Injuries: Michael Bournival (post-concussion syndrome)
|James Van Riemsdyk||Nazem Kadri||Leo Komarov|
|Shawn Matthias||Mark Arcobello||Brad Boyes|
|Daniel Winnik||Nick Spaling||Joffrey Lupul|
|Michael Grabner||Bryon Froese||Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau|
|Matt Hunwick||Dion Phaneuf|
|Scott Harrington||Morgan Rielly|
|Martin Marincin||Roman Polak|
Scratched: Frank Corrado
Injuries: Tyler Bozak (lower body), Jake Gardiner (undisclosed), Stephan Robidas (lower body)
Check out the enemy over at Pension Plan Puppets.