How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC, CityTV, Sportsnet (English), TVAS (French)
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
On Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens proved once again that no rust had built up during their week-long COVID shutdown. Dominique Ducharme made one change to his winning lineup from Tuesday night and that was a goaltender swap. Jake Allen took the place of Carey Price and almost got a shutout of his own ... until the very last minute of the third. We’ll spare Artturi Lehkonen more grief.
The Canadiens’ top line is finally starting to re-emerge as the line we’ve been watching the past couple of seasons, which is exciting to see as they dive headfirst into a crazy schedule. Thursday night, the Danault-Gallagher-Tatar line really worked their magic, coming away with a combined six points. Phillip Danualt opened the scoring and picked up an assist along the way, Tomas Tatar tallied two apples of his own to extend his point streak to five games, and not to be outdone, Brendan Gallagher got a goal and assist of his own. Gallagher now sits second on the team in goals (14) and third in points (23).
Tale of the Tape
|55.9% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||49.5% (15th)|
|3.24 (8th)||Goals per game||2.51 (25th)|
|2.58 (11th)||Goals against per game||3.73 (31st)|
|22.0% (14th)||PP%||14.3% (27th)|
|76.6% (23rd)||PK%||77.0% (21st)|
Ottawa saw its six-game point streak come to a halt in the 4-1 loss. They came into the matchup after beating the Calgary Flames twice, allowing just one goal in each, and managing to push the Toronto Maples Leafs to overtime before losing 3-2. One would have thought that it would be the Senators who came out full of energy since the last time they suited up was in the overtime loss against the Maple Leafs on March 25. But they didn’t match Montreal’s energy level or structure. It also helped the Habs’ cause that Ottawa’s defence struggled for the majority of the game, leaving rookie goaltender Filip Gustavsson to shoulder the load.
For tonight’s game, the Senators will most likely be missing forward Colin White who left the third period and didn't return due to an upper-body injury. White was probably already playing at less than 100% since he didn’t finish the March 10 matchup against the Edmonton Oilers after leaving with a lower-body injury.
Despite the Canadiens still missing important pieces like Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot and Joel Armia, they’re really starting to show off their depth and play a more focused game. Everyone is stepping up their game to try to solidify a spot in the lineup. The Canadiens currently have eight to 10 players competing for five spots on the bottom two lines.
On Tuesday night, it was Paul Byron and Lehkonen who made the most out of their opportunities on the ice in a 4-0 win over the Oilers. Thursday night, it was Jake Evans who caught our eye as he played his best game so far.
The Canadiens are still sitting in the fourth and final spot in the North Division, but after Thursday’s victory and the Calgary Flames’ loss last night, they’re looking a little more comfortable with their 41 points. They’re six points ahead of the Flames and Vancouver Canucks, and they have at least four games in hand on each challenger.
The Habs have proven that the trick to winning is to play the full 60 minutes. And with this group, that shouldn’t be a problem again tonight.