The Montreal Canadiens played a good team game on Thursday night, beating the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout to snap a five-game losing streak. Carey Price made 44 saves for the win, with the most critical being an acrobatic toe save in overtime, while Max Pacioretty also broke a lengthy goal-scoring drought.
After a few days off, the Habs are back in action for one more game before their bye week, welcoming the Vancouver Canucks to the Bell Centre.
The teams last faced each other on December 19. It was a rare offensive explosion for both sides, with 12 goals scored by clubs currently ranking in the bottom four of the NHL in goals per game.
With a point from a shootout loss in Toronto last night, the Canucks are now tied in points with the Canadiens, edging ahead due to one more regulation/overtime win. The winner of tonight’s game will reach just the 40-point mark after its 42nd game of the season.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English)
In the Canadiens region: RDS (French)
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
As it has for the Canadiens, it’s been a tough season for the Canucks. They enter tonight’s game as the coldest team in the league, with a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 games.
The Canucks will get a boost with Sven Baertschi set to return to the lineup soon for the first time since December 9. Whether that return happens tonight or sometime in the coming days is not yet known. He ranked third on the team in both points and goals at the time of his injury, so his return will be a welcome addition.
The brightest spot for the team has been the play of rookie Brock Boeser. Despite the team’s overall offensive struggles, he scored at above a point-per-game pace in the first half of the season, with a sizable lead on Thomas Vanek in second place on the team leaderboard. His 22 goals in just 38 games placed place him fourth in the league goal-scoring race, four back of Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov in the battle for the Rocket Richard Trophy.