How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EDT / 4:30 PM PDT
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French),
In the Stars region: FOX Sports-Southwest
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/Rogers NHL Live
Ten games into the season, the Habs are flying high with a .700 point percentage that no one could have anticipated. A new aggressive style of play, the poise and maturity of third overall selection Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and stellar work from Max Domi — who has taken to the centre position like a fish to water — have all combined to give Habs fans hope that this team may actually be a playoff contender.
This excellent start is made even more remarkable by the fact that the schedule makers have done the Canadiens no favours to start the season. Having already battled through the likes of Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews, Anze Kopitar, and Patrice Bergeron, the Canadiens return home from their mini road trip and prepare for a three-game homestead against the Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tale of the Tape
|1-1-0||H2H Record (17-18)||1-1-0|
|51.6% (10th)||Corsi-for pct.||48.9% (19th)|
|32 (15th)||Goals for||30 (18th)|
|25 (3rd)||Goals against||29 (12th)|
|17.9% (19th)||PP%||28.6% (6th)|
|76.5% (19th)||PK%||85.7% (7th)|
The Stars have had an up-and-down start to the 2018-19 campaign, beginning with a 3-1 record before dropping four of their last six, including a recent 4-2 defeat at the hands of the lowly Detroit Red Wings. Indeed, as the Stars roll into Montreal for the second game of their six-game Eastern Conference road trip, they’re still seeking their first road victory of the season, something that head coach Jim Montgomery referred to as “the elephant in the room.”
The Stars have not been short on offence in recent years, and the addition of Alexander Radulov last season resulted in the formation of one of the most potent scoring lines in all of hockey. However, after a blistering start (10 points in six games), Radulov missed the last four matches with a lower-body injury, and with him out of the lineup, linemates Tyler Seguin (10 points in first six games, two since) and Jamie Benn (eight points in first six games, zero since) went cold.
Radulov’s absence was perhaps most keenly felt on the power play, as after converting seven times on 18 opportunities with him in the lineup, the Stars only notched one tally in 10 chances without him. Unfortunately for the Canadiens, Radulov was already a game-time decision for the Stars’ last game against the Red Wings, meaning that there’s a good chance that he could rejoin the lineup Tuesday night.
Despite all the attention usually going to the big line, the Stars are not a one-line team by any stretch. Jason Spezza and Devin Shore provide depth scoring, while Valeri Nichushkin is a potential threat hidden away on the fourth line. Their blue line is anchored by the underrated John Klingberg and Esa Lindell, supported by steady Marc Methot and dynamic Miro Heiskanen.
Given that Montgomery made a point of saying that the team “needed desperation, and [they] didn’t have it” after the loss to Detroit, it’ll likely be a desperate club that takes the Bell Centre ice on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, after an emotional victory over the Boston Bruins which saw Carey Price pass Patrick Roy for all-time wins as a Canadien, the Habs are primed for an emotional letdown.
This is one of those situations where the coaching staff needs to earn their paycheques and make sure that the team doesn’t suffer a lapse out of the gate that could see the game out of reach before the first intermission.