The NHL now enters the final stretch of games, as the playoffs loom, and the unofficial second half of the season begins.
For the Montreal Canadiens, the playoffs seem out of reach, but the objective every game remains the same.
Sitting 10 points out of the final wild-card spot, a post-season berth isn’t impossible, but the would have to string together an extraordinary chunk of wins in order to do so. Their offensive play before the break was impressive, however, ending the Colorado Avalanche’s 10-game winning streak before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes by a 6-5 scoreline.
Max Pacioretty had been one of the hottest Habs going into the break, with eight goals and three assists in his last 10 games. It will be difficult for him to hit his regular total of 30 goals, but no one would be surprised if he does.
How to watch
Puck drop: 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Blues region: FS-MW
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are in a tight race for the Central Division crown, sitting behind the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets. Despite this, they remain one of the strongest teams in the NHL, currently occupying the sixth position in the overall standings.
The Canadiens and Blues last met at the Bell Centre earlier this season, and the result was a 4-3 win in favour of the away team, as the Blues ended a five-game winning streak for the Habs back on December 5.
Brayden Schenn had a hat trick in the match, and hasn’t slowed down since, currently leading the Blues with 50 points. Super sniper Vladimir Tarasenko isn’t far behind, with 46 points, 21 of them goals.
Alex Pietrangelo is a player to watch tonight as well, as he’s had a Norris-calibre season so far. With eight goals and 27 assists, he’s one of the league’s top two-way defenders, and he’s been packing an offensive punch.
If Montreal wants to make a final push into the playoffs, every game truly matters, especially against top teams in order to improve confidence.