How to watch
Start time: 7:30 PM EDT / 4:30 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet (English),
In the Canadiens region: RDS (French)
In the US: NBCSN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Should we start with the good news or the bad news?
The good news is Eric Staal made his mark in his first game with the Canadiens on Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers. Thanks to him, the Habs got their first overtime win of the season. More good news: it was Montreal’s fourth win against the Oilers and they managed to keep Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the scoreboard once again. Even more good news: McDavid didn’t take his frustrations out on Jesperi Kotaniemi this time.
The bad news is that the Canadiens paid for the victory. Brendan Gallagher took a deflected Alexander Romanov slapshot off his hand during the first period that resulted in a fractured thumb, so Montreal’s second-highest goal-scorer will be out for the foreseeable future. On the heels of that, we learned on Tuesday that Carey Price also sustained an injury during the second period but remained in the game. He’s day to day with a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with the team for tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although he’s not completely ruled out for Thursday’s contest against the Winnipeg Jets, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see him between the pipes before Saturday.
Tale of the Tape
|54.9% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||48.5% (20th)|
|2.91 (13th)||Goals per game||3.20 (8th)|
|2.79 (15th)||Goals against per game||2.75 (13th)|
|18.8% (21st)||PP%||26.2% (3rd)|
|77.9% (22nd)||PK%||79.8% (15th)|
With Price undergoing treatments back in Montreal, it’s up to Jake Allen, Charlie Lindgren, and new arrival to the taxi squad Cayden Primeau to hold down the fort.
Perhaps the Leafs will give their starting goaltender, Jack Campbell, who has a 9-0-0 record, a 1.53 goals-against averahe for second in the league, and .944 save percentage for third in the league, the night off as well. It’s only fair.
The Leafs are heading into tonight getting in the win column in seven of their last eight games and sweeping their four-game road trip after beating the Calgary Flames and Jets twice. It was Auston Matthews who had the game-winner, paired with a second goal, to help them in the 5-3 win over the Flames, bringing him to 27 goals in 36 games. While on the road, John Tavares hit quite the milestone of his own, tallying his 800th career point.
After Monday’s victory, Staal said he was “thankful that it was my opportunity tonight but, as a group, we’ve got a lot of guys that can be difference-makers here.” He’s not wrong. This season, when the Habs come to play they fit perfectly together like peanut butter and jelly. They just need to come ready to play for a full 60 minutes and not a minute shorter.
It looks like Kotkaniemi will be taking Gallagher’s spot alongside Tomas Tatar and Philip Danault, which makes room for Jake Evans to grab a spot back in the lineup between Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron. Thankfully, Montreal has depth up the wazoo for a change. No cringing needed with these substitutions.
Yes, the Leafs are sitting pretty with 55 points in the North Division and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. But the Canadiens are holding strong in fourth place with only five points the difference from the third-place Oilers.
For our missing pieces tonight, all we need is a strong performance from Allen, which is totally doable as we’ve seen so far this season, and someone to replace Gallagher....