How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Ducks region: Prime
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Suffering two embarrassing losses to the New Jersey Devils earlier in the season, Montreal looked poised to give one of the worst teams in the NHL another victory on Tuesday night, falling into a three-goal hole in the second period. Joel Armia wasn’t going to let that happen, getting his team on the board to let his teammates and the Habs fans at Prudential Center know that they were still in the game. Despite giving up a late equalizer after taking a 4-3 lead in the third period, the Canadiens got the victory when Ilya Kovalchuk was the only one to score in the shootout.
Dealing with the flu, as well as the disappointment of dropping a game on Sunday to a Columbus Blue Jackets team they were hoping to catch, it was a good effort to muster the will to win when they could have easily folded.
They may have to generate their own energy again tonight. The Anaheim Ducks aren’t exactly a rival, nor are they in contention for the post-season.
Tale of the Tape
|1-1-0||H2H Record (18-19)||1-1-0|
|54.3% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||48.8% (20th)|
|3.05 (16th)||Goals per game||2.49 (29th)|
|3.07 (19th)||Goals against per game||3.06 (18th)|
|19.9% (15th)||PP%||14.3% (31st)|
|78.9% (21st)||PK%||78.1% (22nd)|
The Canadiens will at least hope the Ducks don’t have eight goals in them, as they did when Montreal visited Honda Center last March. That was a sound 8-2 defeat at a terrible time for a Habs team much closer to a playoff spot than the 2019-20 iteration. The California trip is usually tough (something to look forward to in a few weeks’ time!) and last year was no different.
Anaheim probably won’t be netting eight tonight. The team’s top scorer, Adam Henrique, has just 17 goals on the season, and the club only has three players who’ve hit 30 points (Montreal, with its 16th-ranked offence, has seven). They still find ways to score a few goals. They’ve only been shut out twice this year, and have at least three in their past four games.
The more consistent production is the biggest factor in their best run since the opening weeks of the season. Not surprisingly, given the state of their offence, it’s been done by committee over this 5-2-0 stretch. Rickard Rakell leads with six points in that time, while Hampus Lindholm has been not only the most trusted defenceman (with about 25 minutes per game) but also the most productive one with four points of his own.
In net, it’s been a down year for John Gibson. He has the lowest save percentage (.905) and goals-against average (2.96) of his career. With a team not really built to contend, there’s little motivation for him to consistently bring his best game. Like Carey Price, however, he still has it in him to steal a game by himself, so while Montreal should be favoured to come away with the win, Gibson (if he gets the start) could give those seven 30-point players some trouble.