clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

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

Can the Habs find a way to hold off the Ducks, or is their California swing stuck on the same old script?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks manhandled the Montreal Canadiens. Now, the Habs are going to have try to do them a favour.

The Sharks are locked in a divisional battle that sees them in pursuit of the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. If the Canadiens are going to keep their ever more tenuous playoff hopes alive, they must deal the Ducks a loss tonight.

It won't be easy. As has been the case for much of the last decade, the Ducks are one of the league's strongest outfits. Strengthened by a pair of deadline acquisitions, they've smoothed over some rough patches in their lineup, and are focused on pushing for a cup before their window closes.

The Ducks will be ready to compete tonight. The Canadiens will have to decide if they still want to.

How to Watch

Start time: 10:00 PM ET
In the Canadiens region (French): RDS
In the Canadiens region (English): Sportsnet East
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Ducks
30-28-5 Record 34-19-8
5-4-1 L10 Record 9-0-1
52.5 Score-Adjusted Corsi % 53.6
173 Goals For 153
175 Goals Against 144
0.96 5v5 Goal Ratio 0.91
17.9 PP% 22.3
84.0 PK% 86.6

Know Your Enemy

The Ducks' season, from a high level, has followed nearly an opposite trajectory to that of the Habs. They started out as poorly as one could imagine, losing nine of their first ten games. They pulled out of the spiral briefly, winning their next three, only to offset that streak with another three-game winless stretch.

Slowly, things started to change. Their possession game improved, and Frederik Andersen, one of the lone bright spots during the early skid, continued to provide some of the league's best goaltending. When the calendar turned over, Corey Perry awakened from his season-long slumber, and now resides with Ryan Getzlaf atop the team's scoring leaderboard.

Young centre Rickard Rakell has emerged, providing secondary scoring on a team with little. Sami Vatanen, keeping on the solid scoring pace he set last season, is doing the same from the back-end.

When the team acquired David Perron, their scoring jumped to another level. Perron, in 18 games with the Ducks, has now equalled the 16-point total he amassed in 43 games with the Penguins. Playing on the top line with Getzlaf, while Rakell centres Perry, the Ducks have even managed to spread their scoring out a little bit.

With the deadline acquisitions of Brandon Pirri and Jamie McGinn, that group should get a little stronger. For all of his merits, Mike Santorelli is not a first line forward, and with someone like McGinn likely able to take over, he won't have to be.

After their early season swoon, the Anaheim Ducks appear to be fully recovered. With the playoffs looming, they can stake their claim to first place in the Pacific Division tonight.

Last Time Out

If Monday night's performance is any indication, the Montreal Canadiens apparent recovery may have been a mirage. While a loss to the Sharks isn't so unlikely in a vacuum, it harkens back to a similar script that played out at this time last year.

The Habs started their California swing meekly, laying down against the Sharks in a game in which their opponents' disciplined play left them totally handcuffed. While their play improved in their next game, against Anaheim, they couldn't achieve a better result.

The Tricolore padded their shot totals against the Ducks, but couldn't get one past John Gibson until it was much too late. Francois Beachemin's quick shot on a partial odd-man rush gave Anaheim the lead in the first frame, and the Ducks would score again in the second, with an assist to folk hero Jiri Sekac.

The Habs pressed, with a handful of opportunities to bring the score closer, but Gibson stood tall. When Carey Price was pulled for a final 6-on-4 push, it was Cam Fowler who lofted one down the ice and into the empty net. Alex Galchenyuk would tap a goal in late to break Gibson's shutout, but the game was already over.

Like the loss to San Jose, the Canadiens could often be forgiven for succumbing to one of the league's strongest contenders this evening. Tonight, however, they can't afford it.

Entering this difficult three-game road trip, we suggested that Montreal would need at least four points to even keep the lights on over their playoff push. With the margin for error at zero, they'll seek to earn the first of those at the Honda Center.