The mid-season break for the All-Star Game didn’t have any rejuvenating effects on the Montreal Canadiens. Since starting back up for the final stretch of the season on Tuesday, they have lost two in a row and scored just a single goal.
The team was shut out in its last game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night as the teams were unable to replicate the 11-goal performance from the previous week. The Habs went through the first period with very little time spent in the offensive zone, and had few opportunities throughout the game.
It meant the end of a mini goal-scoring streak for Charles Hudon, who had finally begun to get rewarded for what has been great play throughout his rookie season. He now has seven goals on the year, with three in his last three games.
Hudon and the Habs will hope that catching a Western Conference team forced to play at 10:00 Pacific Time will allow them to get the jump on their opponent, and a few goals on the scoresheet.
How to watch
The Anaheim Ducks started their unofficial start to the second half of the season with a tour through the Atlantic Division, getting a victory over the Boston Bruins before falling by a 1-0 score in overtime versus the Ottawa Senators.
Before stops in Toronto and Buffalo, the Ducks are in Montreal hoping for a similar result to the 6-2 win they had at Honda Center in October.
An injury to Ryan Getzlaf at the beginning of the season had the team struggling to stay in the playoff race, sitting as one of the worst teams in the West when the captain returned in mid-December. Since then, the team has gone 13-6-3 to pull back into a playoff spot.
Despite missing about 20 games, Getzlaf is still near the top of the team in scoring, just a few points back of Anaheim’s All-Star representative, Rickard Rakell. Only six of Getzlaf’s points have come on the Ducks’ bottom-third power play, with the majority of his production coming at even strength.
Anaheim will still have a lot to do over its final 30 games, currently occupying the third seed in the Pacific Division, but with the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames within two points, and possessing a point total lower than the two Central Division teams holding the wild-card spots.
The Ducks have a lot more to play for this afternoon, and should therefore look like the better team. The Habs will be fed up with their lack of offence in recent contests, and a chance to impact a team’s playoff chances will serve as extra motivation.