The Montreal Canadiens return to the ice Tuesday night to face off against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. It's the first game of a three-game Western Canada road trip just before Christmas time.
The Canadiens have lost four out of their last five, including a listless 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the NHL 100 Classic at Lansdowne Park on Saturday night.
To make matters worse for the Canadiens, they'll be without star defenceman Shea Weber, who will be re-evaluated for a foot injury. Head coach Claude Julien told reporters after practice on Monday that he's been sent back to Montreal, and there’s no timetable for his return.
As a result, the Canadiens will only have six healthy defenscmen on their roster. Per Marc-Antoine Godin of The Athletic, the team isn't expected to call up any reinforcements from Laval at this moment in time.
How to watch
Puck drop: 10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Canucks region: Sportsnet Pacific
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
The Canucks won't have a clean bill of health either. Rookie star forward Brock Boeser blocked a shot off his foot and suffered a bone bruise on Sunday night against the Calgary Flames. The Canucks haven't provided a timetable for when he'll return. He joins a growing list of injured Canucks, which includes Chris Tanev, Bo Horvat, Erik Gudbranson, Sven Baertschi, and Brandon Sutter.
Boeser, Baertschi, and Horvat represent three of their top five scorers, and are their top three goal-scorers. The Canucks will have to lean on veterans Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as one-time Hab Thomas Vanek, for goals.
Henrik is on a four-game points streak, amassing six points in that span, while Daniel has five points in five games. Vanek, however, hasn't registered a point in his last six games and has just one point in his last nine.
Vancouver has also lost five of its last six games, including a 6-1 blowout loss to the Flames Sunday. It’s a meeting of two teams struggling to find the win column, so two points should be there for the taking for whichever side wants them more.