clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Canadiens vs Blackhawks: Game preview, start time, and TV schedule

The Habs look to end two streaks at once as they head into Chicago for a showdown with the NHL's hottest team.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

It looked like Saturday night's game against the St. Louis Blues might have been the one the Canadiens were waiting for.

They heavily out-shot their opponent and even managed to net three goals. Unfortunately, even that was not enough for the Habs to get back in the win column.

Their task will get no easier tonight as they go up against the Western conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, who are currently riding a 10-game winning streak which includes a victory over the Habs just last week.

If the Canadiens can continue to generate scoring chances the way they did against the Blues last night, they may just be on their way out of what has become a very trying stretch of games. The trouble is that they probably couldn't be facing a more difficult opponent - not to mention the fact that the Blackhawks will be coming into this one with a day's rest, a luxury the Habs will not be afforded.

Ben Scrivens will likely get the nod in goal tonight as the Habs look to slow down one of the leagues most potent lines.

How to Watch

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Blackhawks
23-18-4 Record 30-13-4
3-6-1 L10 Record 10-0-0
53.3 Score-Adjusted Corsi % 52.5
126 Goals For 135
113 Goals Against 108
1.04 5v5 Goal Ratio 1.01
17.7 PP% 22.5
85.0 PK% 82.2

Know Your Enemy

As always when it comes to the Blackhawks this season, all eyes will be on their top line. The trio of Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov, and rookie sensation Artemi Panarin has been too much for opposition to handle all season long. Thanks to a hat-trick against the Maple Leafs on Friday, Kane has now recorded 28 goals and 67 points in just 47 game, placing him firmly atop the NHL in all offensive categories.

Even if the Habs can find a way to once again shutdown the Blackhawks top line as they did this past Thursday, they'll need to find a way to deal with a second line that has the ability to expose weak match-ups.

Captain Jonathan Toews has been steady in his offensive production, and while veteran winger Marian Hossa has had a bit of a statistical drop this season there is little doubt that he can still produce when needed. With respective CF%s of 53.54 and 53.13, Hossa and Toews are possession drivers for the 'Hawks.

Chicago has also been one of the best defensive teams in the league this season, though a healthy portion of their success in that regard is because they often spend a lot more time in their opponents' end of the rink. When their zone is challenged however, the Blackhawks have the personnel needed to thwart opposing chances.

Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are certainly the offensive leaders from the blue-line, though Niklas Hjalmarsson is often a bit of an unsung hero for the 'Hawks, tasked with much of the defensive heavy lifting.

The Blackhawks are a well-rounded team, though perhaps very top-heavy offensively. Their dangerous top line needs to be slowed in order for the Habs to have a chance in this game, though the difficulties don't end there. With the steady Corey Crawford in goal, the Blackhawks are not an easy team to score on.

Last Time Out

The Canadiens and Blackhawks last met just a few short days ago on January 14th, in a game that saw the Habs fall to the NHL's hottest team by a single goal.

It was a low-scoring affair in Montreal on that night, though Blackhawks captain Toews got things going early on. After receiving a pass right through the blue ice from Andrew Shaw, Toews launched home his 17th goal of the season to give the Blackhawks a one goal lead just eight minutes into the game.

The Habs would answer only moments later, however, as Paul Byron managed knot things up with an opportunistic, if not downright lucky goal off of his shin pad.

Unfortunately the score didn't stay even for very long thanks to Ryan Garbutt who unloaded a cannon of a shot to beat Mike Condon, restoring Chicago's one-goal lead - a lead which would stand for the rest of the game after two consecutive scoreless periods.

If the Habs hope to end the 'Hawks streak of dominance tonight, they need not look back very far to see how it can be done. Plain and simply, the Canadiens played the right way this past Thursday despite the loss. While that may have been the most frustrating part of the loss, the Habs proved that they can hang with this team and keep things close.

That loss came in spite of a 40-shot effort, and after netting three against the Blues just last night, the Habs have to be feeling at least a little better about their ability to finish plays. If they can hit the 40-shot mark again tonight, they might just find a way to stop the streak.