The Habs are coming off their 3rd loss in a row, albeit another shootout loss in which they collected a valuable point to stay tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the Atlantic Division. Right now, the Canadiens are tied for 2nd in the Eastern Conference and could meet up with a variety of teams next week when the playoffs begin. The Habs have seemed to be coasting through this past stretch of games, having only won once in their last six, but with a game in hand on the Lightning, they still have a chance to finish the season with the Atlantic Division title with a few strong outings to end their season.
The Florida Panthers almost rallied late in the season to make the leap into a playoff position. After beating the Ottawa Senators on the road last Sunday, the Panthers looked ready to make a furious run for the playoffs. Tuesday's loss against the Bruins all but knocked the wind out the Cats, who followed up the loss with a 6-1 win against the Hurricanes on Thursday, but with their competition putting up such a torrid pace for that final Wildcard spot, the Panthers had their hopes dashed last night by being trampled 4-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Habs have been playing a little bit above their average possession numbers over the 3-game skid, only registering an average of 51 CF, while allowing 55 CA, with the CA numbers being skewed by a 35 CF performance against the Habs by the Devils on Friday night in a game where the Habs had 14:27 worth of powerplay time, but only converted for one powerplay goal.
The puck drops at 5:00PM EST. Andrei Markov will be back in the lineup tonight, alongside defense partner P.K. Subban. Coach, Michel Therrien has also decided to swap Manny Malholtra for Torrey Mitchell on fourth-line center duties. Dan Ellis will get the start over Roberto Luongo between the pipes for the Panthers.
In Canada Canadiens (French): RDS
|David Desharnais||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Brandon Prust||Lars Eller||P.A. Parenteau|
|Jacob de la Rose||Torrey Mitchell||Dale Weise|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Manny Malholtra, Brian Flynn, Sergei Gonchar
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Aleksander Barkov||Jaromir Jagr|
|Brandon Pirri||Dave Bolland||Brad Boyes|
|Jussi Jokinen||Vincent Trocheck||Jimmy Hayes|
|Tomas Kopecky||Derek MacKenzie||Scottie Upshall|
|Brian Campbell||Aaron Ekblad|
|Willie Mitchell||Erik Gudbranson|
|Dmitry Kulikov||Alex Petrovic|
Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Steven Kampfer
Injuries: Al Montoya (groin)
Check out the enemy over at Litter Box Cats.