clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

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

In a battle of two underperforming squads, can the Habs make the most of their 60 minutes?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I guess it isn't going to happen.

As one of those Canadiens fans least willing to accept reality, I held out hope that, if a little luck or some magic from the call-ups could tide the team over until Carey Price got back, maybe it could happen. It isn't going to happen.

The Canadiens aren't going to make the playoffs. And they aren't going to draft Auston Matthews, either. They're going to play 17 more games, and then, for five long months, go their separate ways until the process starts all over again.

So, if winning or losing is effectively meaningless, what is one to do to maximize the value of those 17 games? The best answer, in all likelihood, is you experiment.

Ben Scrivens isn't part of this team's future, so to the extent that he can accept the mental and physical strain, Mike Condon should see the lion's share of the remaining starts. The experience should be mutually beneficial for team and player.

On defence, Mark Barberio should already have earned his right to priority selection for a slot of next year's defence corps. With the jury still out on Greg Pateryn and Morgan Ellis, though, the Habs would be wise to see what the pair are capable of over the remaining 20% of the season.

On offence, the goal should be the same. Michael McCarron's place in the organization is assured, but the timeline of his ascendancy could become clearer based on his performance as the season wraps up. The Tricolore have a lot to learn about the capabilities, especially in the opponent's zone, of recent trade acquisition Phillip Danault. Marc Bergevin needs to know if Jacob de la Rose and Sven Andrighetto can be counted on to be Canadiens next season. And in the same vein, ice time is the only thing that can inform a decision as to whether Stefan Matteau belongs in the Habs' bottom-six or the IceCaps' middle-six next season.

The outcome of tonight's game, insofar as it impacts the standings, doesn't matter. The content of the intervening 60 minutes does.

How to Watch

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
In the Canadiens region (French): TVAS
In the Canadiens region (English): Sportsnet
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Jets
30-29-6 Record 26-32-5
3-5-2 L10 Record 2-6-2
52.4 Score-Adjusted Corsi % 51.5
177 Goals For 164
181 Goals Against 190
0.96 5v5 Goal Ratio 0.99
17.4 PP% 16.3
84.2 PK% 77.3

Know Your Enemy

The Winnipeg Jets started their season with similar promise.

Having finally made their long-awaited return to the playoffs last season, and with several key prospects near maturity, the Jets looked poised to build on their success this year.

At even strength, the team has been successful. Their score-adjusted possession numbers put them just outside the top-10, league-wide, and despite some typically abhorrent goaltending, they've managed to keep their goals for and against ratio nearly even.

Besides goaltending, though, the Jets have really been let down by their special teams. Their powerplay and penalty kill have each been putrid, earning the team the dubious honour of being one of only two teams with two bottom-five special teams units, along with the Calgary Flames.

So with Winnipeg firmly in the hunt for first overall, their focus tonight will be firmly on developing their prospects. Shipping out captain Andrew Ladd brought back multiple assets, most notably Marko Dano. He, along with the likes of Nikolai Ehlers, Alex Burmistrov, and Joel Armia, should see top-nine minutes tonight.

With nothing to lose, perhaps the Jets will be a more dangerous opponent than they were last time.

Last Time Out

On the strength of a wave of depth scoring, the Canadiens blew out their Manitoban opponents at the start of November. With Price out of the lineup, the Habs generated more than enough offence to compensate, earning a 5-1 victory on a Sunday evening.

Paul Byron opened the scoring, charging onto a loose puck before dangling and scoring on Michael Hutchinson. Tomas Fleischmann would get the next one, following David Desharnais as he drove the net and banging in a rebound to make it 2-0.

The Habs wouldn't let up. Early in the second, Fleischmann would elect to keep on a two-on-one. His decision paid off, as he rifled a third goal past Hutchinson. Before the Jets could respond, Desharnais would stretch the lead to four. Capitalizing on a Tyler Myers turnover on an attempted zone exit, Desharnais again drove hard toward the centre of the ice. His initial volley was stopped by Hutchinson, but DD would pop-in his own rebound, spelling the end of the night for the young netminder.

In the third period, Andrei Markov would coolly add the finishing touches. With a maneuver that only a playmaker of Markov's calibre could make seem intentional, the veteran defender banked a pass from the sideboards off of Lars Eller's instep, directly past the outstretched leg of replacement goalie Ondrej Pavelec. For most, that's a lucky bounce. With Markov, it comes off as another example of his innate ability to pair world-class creativity with effortless execution.

The Jets would wreck Condon's shutout bid, but that was a much as they could muster. The Habs would use the 5-1 win to pad their lead in the standings, a cushion that has long since disappeared.

Given the Jets' struggles this year, and the loss of one of their best players in Ladd, the Canadiens should be primed to win tonight. With the outcome of their season looking more and more final, however, the Habs would be well-advised to focus on what's most important first.