The Habs are playing their best hockey in months. That's not saying much, but the Canadiens are 5-4-1 in their past ten games, which is their best ten-game record since before the winter downfall that began in December.
The win in Washington on Wednesday night did not change the fact that the Canadiens need to be looking to next season, sitting seven points back of a playoff spot. The trading of Dale Weise sends a clear signal that management does not expect this team to make the playoffs, and will be using the remainder of the season to open up roster spots to prospects.
The Habs did, however, get a warm body in the trade with the Blackhawks, with Phillip Danault scheduled to make his Habs' debut tonight. The Habs are literally decimated by injuries with three core defensemen out. A call-up from St. John included Michael McCarron and defenseman Morgan Ellis injects more youth into the lineup, which could create a miraculous spark, even though it seems unlikely the Canadiens plan on making a run for the playoffs at this point.
Even still, the Habs should be able to get the two points tonight against the Leafs, who are almost void of NHL calibre players. The Leafs' sell-off has left them icing a team without a lot of quality. James Reimer was the most recent part dealt today, traded to the San Jose Sharks for a goaltender Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith, and a conditional pick in 2018.
Lineup Notes: Phillip Danault will make his debut tonight; Michael McCarron will play his third game in a Canadiens uniform tonight; Mike Condon will be seeking his 16th win, and third win in his last four starts.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): TVA
In Canada (English): CBC, City
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice, NHL.TV
|Max Pacioretty||Lars Eller||Sven Andrighetto|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Jacob de la Rose||Philip Danault||Paul Byron|
|Torrey Mitchell||Michael McCarron||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Greg Pateryn|
|Victor Bartley||Mark Barberio|
Scratched: Lucas Lessio, Morgan Ellis
Injuries: Carey Price (lower body), Daniel Carr (lower body), Jeff Petry (lower body), Brian Flynn (lower body), David Desharnais (broken foot), Tom Gilbert (lower body), Nathan Beaulieu (lower body)
|Michael Grabner||Nazem Kadri||Leo Komarov|
|Colin Greening||Peter Holland||Daniel Winnik|
|Josh Levo||Mark Arcobello||Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau|
|Brendan Leipsic||Byron Froese||Brad Boyes|
|Morgan Rielly||Matt Hunwick|
|Jake Gardiner||Martin Marincin|
|Stuart Percy||Frank Corrado|
Injuries: Matt Hunwick (undisclosed), Joffrey Lupul (undisclosed), Tyler Bozak (upper body), Milan Michalek (fractured right finger), James van Riemsdyk (broken foot), Stephan Robidas (knee)
Check out the enemy over at Pension Plan Puppets.