At some point, the residuals of starting the season off with a blast will soon wear off completely. There was once a time the Canadiens were so many wins ahead of the team they take on tonight, it seemed like a complete breakdown would be the only thing that could reduce the gap between the Canadiens and the many number of middling teams in the Eastern Conference on the bubble fighting for a Wildcard position.
Well, a breakdown happened, and now the Canadiens sit only two wins and two points ahead of the Devils. With a loss tonight, the Habs will fall to seventh or eighth in the Conference. The last time these two teams met, the Canadiens seemed poised to run away with the division.
Of course, winning the regular season doesn't mean anything. Making the playoffs matters most of all, and giving yourself every advantage to win in the playoffs is the ultimate goal of the regular season. The Canadiens are slowly watching their advantages dissolve, but on the horizon is the return of Carey Price, who's ability to make game-changing saves is apparently the core component of this team, which without Price in the lineup have a record of 12-13-3.
The Devils are coming off 1-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, after a three-game winning streak which included a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars. The Devils will be without their point-leader as Mike Cammalleri will be out for his third game in a row after sustaining an upper body injury in a 3-0 win against the Ottawa Senators.
This is the Canadiens first game at home since December 17, which was a 3-0 loss to the Kings. The Habs have not won at the Bell Center since Dec 12 when they beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1.
Mike Condon gets the start in net tonight, coming off a gratifying win at Gillette Stadium in which he made 27 saves on 28 shots. Condon is actually riding a two-game winning streak, having won his previous start in Tampa Bay in a 36-save effort.
Sven Andrighetto will draw into the lineup in place of Tomas Flesichmann, who was among the leaders for forward ice-time last night with 15:37.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
In the Devils' region: MSG+
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Andrighetto||Alex Galchenyuk||Daniel Carr|
|Lars Eller||David Desharnais||Paul Byron|
|Brian Flynn||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Nathan Beaulieu||P.K. Subban|
|Andrei Markov||Jeff Petry|
|Alexei Emelin||Mark Barberio|
Scratched: Tomas Fleischmann, Jarred Tinordi, Grey Pateryn
Injuries: Carey Price (lower body) Tom Gilbert (lower body), Dale Weise (upper body)
|Jiri Tlusty||Travis Zajac||Kyle Palmieri|
|Tyler Kennedy||Adam Henrique||Lee Stempniak|
|Stefan Matteau||Sergey Kalinin||Tuomo Ruutu|
|Bobby Farnham||Stephen Gionta||Jordin Tootoo|
|Andy Greene||John Moore|
|Eric Gelinas||Adam Larsson|
|Jon Merrill||Damon Severson|
Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Mike Sislo, David Schlemko
Injuries: Mike Cammalleri (undisclosed), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Patrik Elias (knee), Ryan Clowe (concussion)
Check out the enemy over at All About the Jersey.