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Canadiens vs. Devils: Game thread, start time, Tale of the Tape, lines, and how to watch

After the bye week, how will the Canadiens get out of the gate?

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens vs. New Jersey Devils

How to watch

Start time: 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2, TSN Direct (English), RDS, RDS Direct (French)
In the Devils region: MSG+
Elsewhere: NHL Live

After an extended All-Star break thanks to the NHL’s mandated bye week, the Montreal Canadiens start their unofficial second half of the season with the first of their two Super Bowl weekend matinees.

The first game will be against the New Jersey Devils who will be without reigning MVP Taylor Hall just like the team the Canadiens will face on Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers. Hall was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

After the bye week, Montreal is holding on to the first Wild Card spot, but are tied with the Boston Bruins in terms of points, and two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and four ahead of the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.

These five teams are going to be close, likely for the remainder of the season and the Canadiens will have to win games against teams out of the playoff picture like the Devils currently are.

Antti Niemi will get the start for the Canadiens as Carey Price will be serving his one-game suspension for missing the NHL All-Star Game. Michael McNiven was recalled to backup Niemi while Charlie Lindgren plays for the Laval Rocket in Toronto.

The team also sent Karl Alzner to Laval. Andrew Shaw practiced with the team the last two days, but Claude Julien ruled him out for this weekend. Paul Byron, however, will return to the lineup after serving his three-game suspension.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Devils
Canadiens Statistic Devils
28-18-5 Record 19-24-7
0-1-0 H2H Record 1-0-0
53.7% (4th) Corsi-for pct. 48.3% (22nd)
2.98 (15th) Goals per game 2.96 (16th)
2.92 (12th) Goals against per game 3.38 (28th)
13.0% (T-30th) PP% 19.1% (18th)
79.5% (17th) PK% 83.9% (5th)
W-W-W-L-W Form L-L-L-W-L

The Canadiens lost 5-2 to the Devils in their first meeting on November 21 in New Jersey. Since then, however, the Devils and Canadiens have gone in opposite directions. The Devils are 15th in the Eastern Conference ahead of only the Ottawa Senators.

They have three wins in their last 10 games and have lost four of their last five games.

The issue for the Devils has been their ability to keep the puck out of their net and they also have also struggled to score goals, which for obvious reasons is not a great combination.

The goaltending has gotten better since MacKenzie Blackwood was recalled from the American Hockey League. He is 5-4-0 in 12 games (10 starts) with a 2.41 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Keith Kinkaid, who has been their starter most of the year, has a 3.12 goals against average and a save percentage under .900 in 36 games.

Offensively, they are led by Kyle Palmieri, who replaced Hall in the All-Star game. He has 23 goals and 16 assists in 50 games. Hall, despite playing in only 37 games, is second in team scoring followed by Nico Hischier.

A nice surprise for the Devils has been 27-year-old Blake Coleman. With 18 goals and 29 points he already passed his scoring output last season in 29 fewer games.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup


Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Jonathan Drouin Phillip Danault Brendan Gallagher
Tomas Tatar Max Domi Paul Byron
Artturi Lehkonen Jesperi Kotkaniemi Joel Armia
Charles Hudon Matthew Peca Nicolas Deslauriers


Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Victor Mete Shea Weber
Mikey Reilly Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak Jordie Benn


Antti Niemi
Michael McNiven

New Jersey Devils projected lineup


Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Marcus Johansson Nico Hischier Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood Travis Zajac Blake Coleman
Brett Seney Pavel Zacha Jesper Bratt
Brian Boyle Kevin Rooney Drew Stafford


Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Andy Greene Damon Severson
Mirco Mueller Will Butcher
Egor Iakovlev Steven Santini


Keith Kinkaid
MacKenzie Blackwood