Among the many metaphors that exist about a coach and what he does for his team, the idea of Michel Therrien dawning a naval captain's hat, standing at the wheel of his ship overlooking a stormy, tumultuous ocean seems like this most fitting at this moment. Let's even paint a smile on his face, perhaps the wild, maniacal grin of someone who looks like they know something you don't. According to the coach, who is manning the ship through this storm, the Canadiens are playing the right way.
Not only are the Habs in jeopardy of losing their first place rank in the Atlantic Division, they sit three points out of the Wildcard spot currently held by the Florida Panthers, who have a game at hand on the Canadiens.
If hockey was a game of pure numbers, the Habs would not be here. There is no logically statistical reason for the Canadiens to be struggling this much. But, there is obviously a lack of finish, as the Habs have the lowest team five-on-five shooting percentage in the NHL for the month of December with 4.2 percent. In my best scientifically methodical way to pose a question: What gives?
The Habs get a bit of fortune tonight, in that the Minnesota Wild also played last night in a losing effort against the Dallas Stars. It's only a little fortunate, as the Wild played at home last night, while the Canadiens traveled the 1,600km from Nashvhille to Minnesota.
Mike Condon will get the start tonight. Michael McCarron was sent back to St John's after having a strong first showing with the Habs in the 12 minutes he was played, but in his second game, he only saw the ice for 5:06. This makes room for the return of Devante Smith-Pelly will will be back tonight after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.
The 6D is a toss-up between Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi will be a game-time decision.
The puck drops at 8:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet East
In the Wild region: NBCSN
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Daniel Carr||Alex Galchenyuk||Lars Eller|
|Tomas Fleischmann||Tomas Plekanec||Paul Byron|
|Brian Flynn||Torrey Mitchell||Sven Andrighetto|
|Nathan Beaulieu||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Andrei Markov|
|Jarred Tinordi||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Sven Andrighetto
Injuries: Carey Price (lower body) Brendan Gallagher (broken fingers), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body), Jeff Petry (upper body)
|Zach Parise||Mikael Granlund||Jason Pominville|
|Thomas Vanek||Mikko Koivu||Jason Zucker|
|Nino Niederreiter||Charlie Coyle||Justin Fontaine|
|Erik Haula||Jarret Stoll||Ryan Carter|
|Ryan Suter||Jared Spurgeon|
|Marco Scandella||Jonas Brodin|
|Nate Prosser||Matt Dumba|
Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Erik Haula, Mike Reilly
Check out the enemy over at On the Forecheck.