While the Montreal Canadiens have now won two straight games after a not-so-forgettable loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, they haven’t really looked like a team about to embark on a win streak.
Unfortunately for Habs fans, the same cannot be said about the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings come to town winners of three in a row, and they’ve done so in convincing fashion. With a combined total of 12 goals in their past two victories — which were also consecutive shutouts — few teams in hockey are as hot as the Kings currently are, which poses a considerable threat to the league-leading Canadiens.
Carey Price, meanwhile, has incredibly won his last 11 starts in regular-season play. If anyone is capable of slowing down what has become an offensive juggernaut over the past week, Price is the one. This game, however, could just prove to be the one in which reliance on the world’s best goaltender is simply not enough.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In the Canadiens’ region: Sportsnet 360 (English), RDS (French)
In the Kings’ region: FS-W
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecenter Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
The concern, of course, stems from the Kings’ play as of late. Their record in the past ten games is impressive, but a difficult start to the season had their fans concerned early on. Still the Kings have a negative goal differential at even strength, and their performance on special teams have been woeful — something the Habs would do well to exploit this evening.
|48.39||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||55.96|
|1.62||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.89|
What the Kings do have going for them, however, is a dominant possession system that has finally, over the course of the past two games, been combined with an ability to find the back of the net. While the Kings may currently sit in a wildcard spot, barely above .500, this is a team trending upward; one the Habs may be meeting at the least opportune time.
With no players currently on a point-per-game pace, the Kings still boast numerous players with respectable totals. Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson have been the primary catalysts this season with five goals apiece, including two for Carter on Tuesday night.
Of note has been the play of defenceman Alec Martinez, who has really risen to prominence in recent seasons. Only Carter has as many points as does Martinez on the Kings through 13 games, and the blue-liner has been indispensable to his club thus far in terms of possession alongside partner Drew Doughty.
Ultimately, tonight’s contest comes down to a battle of contrasting styles. The Kings are unforgiving in their pursuit of puck control, and may prove too much to handle. On the other hand, the Kings’ play in the early parts of this season has featured holes that could be taken advantage of. Tonight we will learn whether the Habs are capable of doing just that.