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Canadiens @ Kings: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

What does the future have in store for a team that finally slayed its demon?

Vegas Golden Knights v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Los Angeles Kings

How to watch

Start time: 4:00 PM EDT / 1:00 PM PDT
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Kings region: Bally Sports West
Streaming: ESPN+, NHL Live, RDS Direct, TSN Direct

It finally happened. After 22 years of putting another tick in the loss column every time they traveled to San Jose, the Montreal Canadiens forced Sharks fan to watch their team lose in person. Having scored more than one goal just once this season before the game, and not solving San Jose’s goalie more than twice in the past decade, the Canadiens’ offence exploded with four goals.

The story of the night wasn’t the offence, however, but the play of the man serving as the last line of defence. Jake Allen probably prevented at least four goals with great saves to keep the Sharks off the board, and thanks to him the only nail-biting required in the third period was for whether he’d get the shutout, which he did with a 45-save performance.

As is the nature with result streaks, the Canadiens turned a disastrous 1-6-0 start to the season into an encouraging run of two wins in their past three contests. In this recent stretch, they’ve scored 11 goals after just four in the first five games. There are still plenty of players yet to get going, and you can view that as a positive or negative, likely pivoting on whether this afternoon’s result versus the Los Angeles Kings is a win or a loss.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Kings
Canadiens Statistics Kings
2-6-0 Record 1-5-1
46.9% (25th) Scoring-chances-for % 51.1% (15th)
1.88 (30th) Goals per game 2.29 (27th)
3.13 (20th) Goals against per game 3.29 (26th)
10.3% (30th) PP% 17.4% (18th)
69.0% (18th) PK% 61.9% (31st)
1-0-0 H2H Record (19-20) 0-1-0

The Kings were hoping their years of rebuilding were finally coming to an end, and their signing of Phillip Danault was another step in getting back to contending status. Given how well Danault had played in his time in Montreal, really putting himself in the spotlight during the run to the Stanley Cup Final, and that the Kings already had perennial Selke Trophy candidate Anze Kopitar on the roster, the main pieces seemed to be in place.

When they dummied the Vegas Golden Knights in the first game of the season — a 6-2 win with Danault’s first goal with the team and a Kopitar hat trick — they seemed well on their way to at least earning a playoff spot, and potentially finishing atop what looked like quite a weak Pacific Division. Two weeks later, that’s still the only win they have.

Most of their six losses have been close; four of them have been by a goal. The issue is similar to what Montreal was dealing with, in that they can’t score enough goals. After Kopitar (who’s now up to six on the year), the next highest tally is Dustin Brown’s two, and no one else has more than one.

It appears that head coach Todd McLellan’s comments on the rebuld were premature. The Kings have a good group of centres, but are still lacking in the winger department. Help is on the way, as the organization’s prospect pool ranks as one of, if not the best in the entire NHL, but it will take some time to start graduating players to impact roles with the team.

Given what the two teams have produced so far, you probably shouldn’t expect to see a great deal of offence, but the Canadiens have the better overall group of forwards, are showing greater signs of getting some of them going, and should therefore be the favourites in the matinee.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
#92 Jonathan Drouin #28 Christian Dvorak #17 Josh Anderson
#68 Mike Hoffman #14 Nick Suzuki #11 Brendan Gallagher
#73 Tyler Toffoli #85 Mathieu Perreault #22 Cole Caufield
#62 Artturi Lehkonen #13 Cédric Paquette #40 Joel Armia

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
#8 Ben Chiarot #26 Jeff Petry
#27 Alexander Romanov #58 David Savard
#15 Sami Niku #77 Brett Kulak

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
#34 Jake Allen #35 Samuel Montembeault

Los Angeles Kings projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Viktor Arvidsson Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown
Adrian Kempe Phillip Danault Alex Iafallo
Trevor Moore Rasmus Kupari Arthur Kaliyev
Carl Grundstrom Blake Lizotte Gabriel Vilardi

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Tobias Bjornfot Mikey Anderson
Kale Clague Matt Roy
Alex Edler Austin Strand

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Cal Petersen Jonathan Quick