Coming off an overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on the weekend, the Montreal Canadiens are back in action tonight, hoping to quickly turn things around and maintain their lead in the Atlantic Division.
Opposing them will be the Calgary Flames, who may be battling some fatigue after playing less than 24 hours ago in Toronto. Tired or not, the Flames will have no shortage of motivation this evening as they remain engaged in a very tight Western Conference playoff race.
The Habs will be without Alex Galchenyuk in this one, however, as the team’s most efficient scorer has re-aggravated the knee injury that previously held him out of action for several weeks. Brian Flynn took Galchenyuk’s place in the lineup at practice yesterday.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In Canada: SNE, SNW (English), RDS (French)
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecenter Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|53.09||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||50.21|
|1.26||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.87|
Playing a back-to-back on the road is never an easy task, but the Flames have no room for excuses with a host of teams hot on their tail in the wild card race. Calgary has failed to find much consistency since the start of the new year, which has caused them trouble as they jockey for position in the Western Conference standings.
It’s been a case of scoring by committee that has allowed the Flames to remain competitive this season, though Johnny Gaudreau has perhaps been the team’s most important player thus far. Though on pace for his worst statistical season to date, Gaudreau remains on 60-point pace - better than anyone else on the roster.
More impressive still, perhaps, has been rookie winger Matthew Tkachuk. The sixth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has shown no signs of trouble adjusting to the pros, registering 30 points in 45 games thus far.
Impossible to ignore have been the contributions of goaltender Chad Johnson - the journeyman goaltender stole the Flames’ starting job from Brian Elliott this season and has performed admirably - giving his team a chance to win night in and night out with a .917 SV% - notably better than that of his backup.
With Calgary suffering a loss at the hands of the Maple Leafs last night in Toronto, tonight’s contest will be one between two clubs similarly eager to get back on the right side of things. The situation may be more urgent for the Flames, but with fresher legs, it may be the Habs carrying the advantage. In any event, it’s sure to make for a compelling game.