How to watch
For the first time since February 28 and March 2, 2018, the Montreal Canadiens are enjoying a winning streak. After a gutsy comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Habs came out all guns blazing against a reeling Detroit Red Wings team still looking for their first win on the season en route to a 7-3 victory. Now, the Canadiens will look to make it three against the St. Louis Blues.
Tale of the Tape
|0-2-0||H2H Record (17-18)||2-0-0|
|53.8% (7th)||Corsi-for pct.||47.2% (20th)|
|17 (13th)||Goals for||15 (17th)|
|13 (12th)||Goals against||20 (27th)|
|13.6% (22th)||PP%||30.4% (5th)|
|76.9% (19th)||PK%||80.0% (11th)|
In a year when they hope to contend in the Central Division, the Blues have not enjoyed the greatest start to the season. Losses in Winnipeg, Chicago (twice), and Anaheim have sandwiched a sole triumph over the Calgary Flames, and the Blues embark on a three-game Canadian road trip tied with the Minnesota Wild at the bottom of the division, with four points.
The Blues have enjoyed ample firepower up front, with 15 goals in their five games. Brayden Schenn is building on his breakout 2017-18 season with a point-per-game pace, while newly re-acquired David Perron has chipped in with four goals. Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, and Ryan O’Reilly also have four points, making the Blues’ attack well-balanced and something to take seriously.
However, the Blues have been uncharacteristically poor defensively. Not only have they allowed at least three goals in every game they’ve played so far, their star players are the ones letting them down. O’Reilly and Tarasenko have each been on the ice for eight (of 15 total) goals. Most egregiously, Alex Pietrangelo has been held pointless so far and has been on the ice for a team-leading nine goals against.
With backup Chad Johnson having played their previous game against the Ducks, the Blues will probably send Jake Allen between the pipes on Wednesday night. Allen has been a leading contributor to the team’s defensive woes thus far, posting a shocking .878 save percentage and 4.13 goals-against average. Allen will possibly not be joined by Jaden Schwartz or Robert Bortuzzo, both of whom missed time against the Ducks and are questionable for tonight’s game.
For the Habs, Carey Price will likely slot back into the lineup, having missed the previous two games with the flu. Matthew Peca responded to his benching with a two-assist performance against the Red Wings, while Tomas Plekanec and Charles Hudon both scored goals, meaning that Andrew Shaw will probably not slot back into the lineup quite yet.
Although the Blues have struggled to start the year, they still possess a solid core of veteran players who could turn the corner at any time. The Canadiens would do well to remember the talent their facing across the ice at all times, as any lapse in concentration following a convincing victory could be punished swiftly.