How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Canucks region: Sportsnet Pacific
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Looking at their roster construction and previous success, it seemed heading into the recent series that the Calgary Flames were going to present a significant test for a Canadiens team that hadn’t encountered much resistance through the first six games. Dangerous forward options, a solid defence, and a quality goaltender added up to make a sturdy squad.
In the first game of the series, that prediction didn’t really play out as the Canadiens’ potent offence still managed four goals. However, the second game was more what was expected, a back-and-forth game with both sides getting chances, only held to its 2-0 scoreline (in favour of the Flames) by Jake Allen and especially Jacob Markstrom. It wasn’t just the first time this season the Canadiens were shut out, but the first time they scored fewer than three goals.
Perhaps what they need to get the offence back on a roll is a visit from Markstrom’s old team, and the one the Habs have hung their largest goal total on this season, the Vancouver Canucks.
Tale of the Tape
|54.2% (4th)||Corsi-for pct.||47.1% (26th)|
|4.13 (1st)||Goals per game||3.55 (6th)|
|2.63 (10th)||Goals against per game||3.36 (26th)|
|25.8% (12th)||PP%||14.6% (24th)|
|79.0% (16th)||PK%||79.6% (13th)|
Montreal enjoyed great success in Vancouver a week ago, scoring a total of 17 goals in the three games. It was nearly perfect in terms of results as well, as they claimed five of a possible six points. No one enjoyed the trip more that Tyler Toffoli, whose first goal with Montreal was part of a hat trick in the first game, and he added two more to that tally in the next game. That was part of a five-game point streak for Toffoli, one that was snapped, along with Nick Suzuki’s season-opening seven-gamer, when the team scored zero goals on Saturday.
The Canucks did tank up on confidence when the Ottawa Senators followed up the Canadiens’ visit to Rogers Arena. They got to be the dominant ones in that three-game series, allowing just three goals to the worst team in the league and scoring 16 times.
Bo Horvat was the star of the series with Montreal, but it’s Brock Boeser who heads to Montreal as the hottest scorer on the team. He finished the Senators series with a two-goal game, and did the same to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. As a result, he has moved into a tie for the league goal-scoring lead, with eight.
Of course, it helps that the Canucks have played 11 games. offering players plenty of time to amass so many points. That could work in the Habs’ favour, however, because it means they face an opponent yet to get two consecutive days off since the season began. A good deal of the success the Canadiens had in the first series came later in the games as their four lines rolled over an overwhelmed squad, and that effect would be even greater this time around. And the Canucks have to drag themselves back onto the ice the next night to do it all over again for their 13th games in 21 days.
There’s a great opportunity for Montreal to put the frustrations of a first goalless game of the year behind them, but it all depends on getting off on the right foot. That mostly means no penalties, which is something the Canadiens still had an issue with when they played Calgary. Hopefully they remember the tactics the Canucks used to make the first series closer than it probably should have been when they inevitably find themselves a man short.