How to watch
Start time: **6:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM PDT**
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Flames region: Sportsnet West
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
After a big win over the North Division’s top team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Monday night, there were high hopes that the Montreal Canadiens would bring that same energy and drive right into Wednesday’s game against a struggling Calgary Flames team.
Apparently, that was too much to ask.
Montreal spent the full 60 minutes doing ... well, I don’t know what they were doing, but it wasn’t trying to secure the final playoff spot that’s for sure. In the 4-1 loss, the only player able to find the back of the net was Brett Kulak. Yes. Your read that right. The guy who hasn’t scored in over two years was the only one to get the Canadiens on the board.
To be fair, Jacob Markstrom had some pretty good help from his post friend on a couple of those shots. But no matter who, or what, stopped the puck from going in, it didn’t go in.
Calgary, coming off a victory the night before (also against the Maple Leafs) once again had Montreal’s number. But really, with the lack of drive the Habs brought to the ice on Wednesday night, it wasn’t that difficult to have their number. Their issues started right off the hop with the Flames winning 60 percent of the faceoffs and their first goal coming after a series of draws in their favour.
Tale of the Tape
|55.2% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||52.1% (8th)|
|3.05 (12th)||Goals per game||2.65 (21st)|
|2.78 (13th)||Goals against per game||2.93 (18th)|
|20.2% (16th)||PP%||20.3% (15th)|
|76.9% (23rd)||PK%||80.9% (11th)|
After the loss, Cayden Primeau and Otto Leskinen were sent back to the Laval Rocket. This could mean that Carey Price may be fit to return to work for tonight’s game. It could also mean nothing and they were just doing their cap space thing. Price worked with Sean Burke on the ice on Wednesday, but has yet to join in at practice, so it’s likely we’ll see Jake Allen between the pipes once again tonight. If that’s the case, Allen better have some big-time help. These last few losses don’t fall fully on the goaltender's shoulders.
The Canadiens have won one in their last five games, while Calgary is currently enjoying a three-game winning streak. And while they’re still on the outside looking in, that fourth spot is coming closer into view.
Markstrom has been on a roll himself, stopping 67 out of the 70 shots he’s faced in his last three outings. He’s currently tied for fourth for most wins by a goalie to come out of Sweden, with 125. We can only hope that if he gets the nod again tonight that he just can’t muster the strength to stop so many of the Habs’ attempts.
The Flames have zeroed in on Montreal this season, taking home the win in four of the five meetings, and still have four more showdowns before the season comes to an end. They’ll have no issues with piling on the pressure as they work to close the gap even more. Before heading into Wednesday’s game, the Canadiens’ playoff chances were 96.7%. Heading into tonight’s matchup, that’s down to 91.3%.
The Flames clearly have their eye on that fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. If the Canadiens don’t play like they want it more, then someone else will.