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

Coming off a loss on the road in Ottawa, the Habs return home to the Bell Centre where they will confront the Calgary Flames.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens were, plain and simply, embarrassed by the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. Allowing three shorthanded goals en route to a 5-0 thumping against their divisional rivals, the Habs will need not wait very long for a chance to make up for it.

Meeting the Calgary Flames in the second game of a weekend back-to-back, the Canadiens can't afford to dwell on last night's result for too long. Instead, they'll have to reset and get prepared for a game with major implications. Well, at least as far as the April 30th NHL Entry Draft Lotteries go.

The Flames are also suffering through a season that they wish would just come to an end. Alas, there are still some games to be played before the front offices of these teams set their sights squarely on the draft, and tonight's matchup is shaping up to be little more than a contest for pride.

How to Watch

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

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Flames
33-33-6 Record 30-35-6
3-6-1 L10 Record 4-4-2
51.9 Score-Adjusted Corsi % 47.5
191 Goals For 196
205 Goals Against 222
0.93 5v5 Goal Ratio 0.90
16.8 PP% 15.8
83.8 PK% 74.7

Know Your Enemy

Sitting near the bottom of the league in the standings, it has been an incredibly disappointing season for the Flames. Making the playoffs last year despite icing a very youthful team, the Flames hoped to build on that success with another winning season. Like the Habs, however, the Flames of 2015-16 have had a rude awakening. Still, going through adversity like the Flames have this season comes with its lessons, and the fans in Calgary have a very bright future to look forward to.

Offensively the Flames are led by 22-year-old Johnny Gaudreau, who has really taken the league by storm in his first two years. After a very successful rookie season, Gaudreau has completely avoided the dreaded "sophomore slump" by posting 70 points in as many games. Sean Monahan, as well, has managed to keep his production up despite the team's struggles, recording 52 points of his own so far.

Calgary has one of the most offensively-talented defensive units in the league, headed of course by veteran Mark Giordano, but also by T.J. Brodie who, in the past two years, has really emerged as a top-end defenceman. After a 41-point season in 2014-15, Brodie has matched that total this year despite playing just 59 games. Joining the duo is Dougie Hamilton, the former Bruins first-round pick, who has taken a small step back in production this year, but has still managed 34 points, good enough for sixth among all Flames players.

The Flames have struggled to find a quality starting goaltender, with three netminders getting a fair amount of games between the pipes. Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, and Joni Ortio have all manned the crease for Calgary this season. Ramo was the preferred starter for the team, but has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Getting the start tonight, however, will be long-time Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. He'll be starting his first game with the Flames, who hope he may be able to provide some stability to a position at which they desperately need it.

Last Time Out

When the Habs and Flames last met, the outlook for the rest of the season was a whole lot brighter for the Canadiens than it is now. While they might have been entering the game having lost two in a row, a nine-game winning streak to open the season was still fresh in memory. After the result of this game, few were still hung up about the two losses beforehand.

Dale Weise got things going for the Habs in the first period after streaking up the ice to receive a pass from Tomas Fleischmann. Weise rocketed the puck toward goal and managed to sneak it past Ortio, giving Montreal a 1-0 lead.

The Flames tied things up just 27 seconds into the second period, courtesy of a Jiri Hudler goal from the door-step just as a Calgary power play expired. Not to be outdone, though, the Habs answered just two minutes later when Nathan Beaulieu scored his first goal of the season on the man advantage, restoring the one-goal lead.

After a Josh Jooris goal to knot the game back up again, Weise struck for the second time on the night to once again pull the Habs ahead. Devante Smith-Pelly extended the lead to two after scoring his first of the year after a terrific cross-ice feed from former-Flame Byron.

Things got no better for the Flames from there as Byron would score short-handed in the third period, probably making Calgary regret waiving him in the first place. Weise stole the show, however, scoring a third goal to cement the hat trick, giving the Canadiens a 6-2 victory and their tenth win of the young season.

After their poor showing last night, it would seem a miracle if the Habs are able to replicate October's result. Still, the Flames have had considerable struggles of their own, making tonight's meeting an unpredictable one. Something we can predict fairly confidently, however, is that it's unlikely to look very pretty.