How to watch
Start time: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Jets region: TSN3
Elsewhere: NHL.tv / Rogers NHL Live
As we reach the end of the first week of February, the Montreal Canadiens face their 30th and final opponent of the 2018-19 season, seeing the high-flying Winnipeg Jets touch down to begin a three-game sequence in the Atlantic Division.
The Jets occupy the top seed in the Central and have had few lulls in their season to threaten that position. The team is coming off a homestand in which it claimed five of the six points available, missing out on one with a loss in overtime to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. A point streak remains intact for the club, however, as it had extended to four games.
Montreal is on a similar streak, though it came against teams sitting outside playoff spots rather than the likes of the Sharks and Boston Bruins. Tonight’s game will be the first real test the Canadiens have faced since coming back after the bye week, and one the players should be excited about playing in.
Tale of the Tape
|1-0-1||H2H Record (17-18)||1-0-1|
|54.1% (4th)||Corsi-for pct.||49.8% (15th)|
|3.00 (14th)||Goals per game||3.49 (5th)|
|2.89 (12th)||Goals against per game||2.79 (7th)|
|12.9% (31st)||PP%||26.8% (4th)|
|78.7% (22nd)||PK%||80.7 (13th)|
The teams traded 5-4 overtime victories in last year’s series. The Canadiens overcame an opportune Jets team that scored on all three of their power plays in the first game. After the Jets scored two goals to open the third, Montreal got them both back before regulation came to an end, and then Max Pacioretty finished off the comeback in the extra frame with Montreal third man-advantage marker of the contest.
A comeback effort also earned the Habs a point in the second meeting. After erasing a three-goal deficit, Montreal fell behind seconds later on Sami Niku’s first NHL goal. Yet the power play saved Montreal once again when Alex Galchenyuk scored with under two minutes on the clock. Kyle Connor was the OT hero in one of the final games of the season to deny a Montreal sweep.
They were two close contests between teams located far apart in the overall standings. In fact, despite the Jets being seen as one of the league’s main contenders in recent seasons, the Canadiens have claimed the lion’s share of the points since the Jets made their return to Winnipeg, starting off with the 5-1 win that welcomed them to their new home back on October 9, 2011. The teams have been trading victories since the beginning of the 2013-14 season in what has become an entertaining matchup.
There are a few questions regarding the team that Montreal will have for tonight’s contest. Andrew Shaw is close to making his return to the lineup, while an injury that initially looked like it would sideline Paul Byron for quite some time is instead only keeping him out day-to-day. The addition of one or both gives the team a much different look from what the Anaheim Ducks faced on Tuesday, and would force a move or two in the makeup of the 23-man roster as well.
No matter what happens, the Finnish Line of Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Joel Armia will be left intact as it continues to be an effective trio. Kotkaniemi will be looking to extend a personal scoring streak to four games, and Armia will have even more jump in his step when taking on the team that traded him away in the off-season.
Carey Price has been a bit of a stranger to the series in recent years, either left on the bench for the interconference meeting or out with injury. After starting off with a 7-2 record versus the relocated franchise, he’s only faced the Jets twice in the past three years, coming out on the losing end both times. Tonight he’s aiming to rectify that by winning his seventh consecutive start. He will likely be much busier than he’s been in recent games, but he will be more than up for the challenge against one of the league’s top offences.