Home. 21,287 people will stuff themselves into the Bell Centre to watch the Montreal Canadiens’ 2017-18 home opener, and it could be just the kind of buzz the team needs to break their scoring dam and get back to winning. The Habs welcome the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, both teams looking to leaving frustrating games far behind in their rear-view mirrors.
The Montreal Canadiens have lost their last two games, scoring a total of a single goal (that counted) and appearing very unlucky at best. On Sunday night in New York, the Habs put two pucks past Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, only to have both goals disallowed. Despite both rulings being correct, a late, lucky first period goal by the Rangers foreshadowed a disheartening night. Montreal kept the pressure on for the final two frames, but failed to find the twine again.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, took an early lead in Toronto against the Maple Leafs and stayed ahead until the midway point of the third period, when the Leafs finally began to capitalize on their numerous opportunities. It took almost four extra minutes to finish the comeback, but Auston Matthews got the job done for Toronto, dealing the Blackhawks their first loss of the young season.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EDT / 4:30 PM PDT
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the United States: NBCSN, NBCSCH
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Game Centre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|0.38||5v5 goal ratio||1.37|
* - 2016-17 season
The Canadiens have won their last three seasons’ home openers, the two most recent of which were also shutout victories. Chicago is no stranger to a loud crowd, but the Habs’ fans are second to none and a first regular season game on home soil is as good excuse as any to whip the masses into a frenzy.
With a win against the Blackhawks, Montreal would have a 2-2 record and every reason to forget a blowout in Washington and an unlucky night at Madison Square Garden. If the Habs fail to beat Chicago, they’ll have only one win in their first four games of the season.
It’s still too early to panic for the Canadiens’ well-being, and that will still ring true regardless of the end result on Tuesday night. It goes without saying, however, that a win could offer a lot of hope to a team and its fanbase.