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Canadiens @ Flames: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

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The Habs didn’t deal with a desperate opponent very well last night. Will they be better prepared today?

Montreal Canadiens v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Calgary Flames

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet East/West, CityTV (English), TVA Sports (French)
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live, Sportsnet Now

Once again in the series with the Flames, the Canadiens looked outclassed by a team that hasn’t had much success versus any other opponent this year. The only reason why Calgary even has a mathematical chance of making is the playoffs is the five wins they’ve earned versus Montreal in seven games to this point. That playoff spot is probably still going to elude them in the end, but the Canadiens have been incapable of severing that final, dangling thread.

The coaching staff made a couple of interesting decisions last night given that their hand was forced by a last-minute call from Jonathan Drouin to sit the game out. The only other skater on the active roster, Erik Gustafsson, came on in his stead, and even got to quarterback a power-play unit, which has been one of his strengths in his NHL career. That allowed Jeff Petry to quarterback a separate unit with Shea Weber taking up a more effective position lower in the zone, trusting Petry to handle defensive duties that he never would with Drouin standing alone at the point. In theory it was a good move, In practice the Habs didn’t have enough time on the power play or get set up in the zone when they did get a man advantage to test it out.

Jon Merrill and Alexander Romanov made up the best defensive duo once more, though they managed that with just an even share of the shots at five-on-five while losing the possession battle. You probably don’t want your third pairing to look the least overwhelmed in a key game, but it’s still one of the few positives to take from last night’s contest.

As Montreal looks for a better result, Dominique Ducharme is keeping his personnel decisions secret for now, so we don’t know if Allen will get a second start in 24 hours, but that does seem the likely choice with Montreal looking for the win. He didn’t announce any changes to the lineup, but noted that Jonathan Drouin was still not feeling well.

Jake Evans has appeared on the official active roster after being on the taxi squad and therefore unavailable last night. The likeliest scenario is for him replace Gustafsson tonight, and potentially shifting one of Eric Staal or Nick Suzuki to the wing. We’ll find out the plan when the players hit the ice for warmups at 6:30 ET.

UPDATE: Cayden Primeau will get the start in net, while Evans does indeed come into the leinup, replacing Paul Byron who is out with a lower-body injury.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Tomas Tatar Phillip Danault Josh Anderson
Tyler Toffoli Nick Suzuki Corey Perry
Artturi Lehkonen Jesperi Kotkaniemi Joel Armia
Eric Staal Jake Evans

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Joel Edmundson Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot Shea Weber
Alexander Romanov Jon Merrill
Erik Gustafsson

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Cayden Primeau Jake Allen

Scratched: Brett Kulak
Injured/Ill: Paul Byron (lower body), Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher (broken thumb), Carey Price (concussion)

Calgary Flames projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Elias Lindholm Matthew Tkachuk
Andrew Mangiapane Sean Monahan Brett Ritchie
Milan Lucic Mikael Backlund Joakim Nordstrom
Dillon Dube Derek Ryan Buddy Robinson

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Mark Giordano Chris Tanev
Noah Hanifin Rasmus Andersson
Juuso Valimaki Michael Stone

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Jacob Markstrom Louis Domingue