How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Oilers region: Sportsnet West
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
After a week-long postponement due to Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia being added to the NHL’s COVID unavailable list just hours before the first of a three-game series on March 22, the Canadiens and the Oilers are ready to duke it out.
While the Canadiens were on their break and crossing their fingers that nothing serious would emerge during the COVID protocols, Edmonton moved on to two contests against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the teams splitting six points.
Marc Bergevin kept busy during the downtime, acquiring centreman Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres on March 26 and signing Cole Caufield who’ll soon be suiting up with the Laval Rocket.
In the two-game series with the Maple Leafs, there was no slowing down the spectacular duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Now that the Canadiens are well rested, it’s going to take their best efforts to come out ahead tonight.
Tale of the Tape
|55.5% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||49.6% (15th)|
|3.19 (11th)||Goals per game||3.40 (4th)|
|2.71 (12th)||Goals against per game||2.89 (18th)|
|23.8% (9th)||PP%||26.8% (4th)|
|76.4% (22nd)||PK%||76.5% (21st)|
The Canadiens’ offence is going to have to be on point if they’re planning on tackling the top two point leaders in the NHL. They’re still going to be short their own top goal-scorer, as Tyler Toffoli won’t be ready to hit the ice just yet as he’s still out with a lower-body injury. Toffoli currently leads the league with 16 even-strength goals through 30 games. Looks like you’ll be getting off a bit easy tonight, spectacular duo.
That being said, Montreal’s defence is going to also have to match Edmonton’s. Ideally they should try to figure out what kind of Wheaties Tyson Barrie has been eating lately. Barrie is currently second in points, just one point behind Tampa’s Victor Hedman, and first in assists with 27 in 35 games. It could be that Montreal’s very own Jeff Petry is eating the same brand since he’s tallied 27 points in 33 games and sits in third in goals for defenceman with 11.
We may also have a battle of the goaltenders on our hands if Mike Smith takes his place between the pipes to take on a fresh Carey Price. Before the COVID break and after the firing of Stéphane Waite, Price was starting to get things going his way again. The last time the Canadiens faced Smith, the Oilers goaltender shut the door on every scoring attempt they made.
After Saturday night’s loss to the Maple Leafs — their first overtime defeat of the year — the Oilers slid to third place in the division with 43 points, while, even on hiatus, the Habs managed to hang onto the fourth spot with 37.
The Canadiens have a lot to make up for after missing four games last week and will have a tight schedule to try to play catch-up. The Oilers are 14-2 when scoring first and 7-11-1 when allowing the first goal. I think we know what we need to do here.