clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Canadiens @ Flames: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

The Habs head west, hoping to put a sloppy effort behind them in time for an important night for Sean Monahan.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens @ Calgary Flames

How to watch

Start time: 9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Flames region: Sportsnet West

On Tuesday night, the Montreal Canadiens had an opportunity to put a little wind into their sails. Victory over the San Jose Sharks would have taken their winning streak to three, giving the team some real momentum heading into a road trip. Instead, the Habs came out flat and the Sharks capitalized, taking an early lead that they would ultimately not relinquish despite the home team’s best efforts.

Truthfully, the final scoreline flattered the visitors. The Canadiens were not undone so much by their opposition in teal, but by their own inability to take advantage of chance after chance (after chance). Perhaps that knowledge will help the team shake off a preventable loss as it heads west for the first time this year.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Flames
Canadiens Statistics Flames
11-10-1 Record 10-9-3
46.3% (25th) Scoring-chances-for % 50.4% (18th)
2.82 (24th) Goals per game 3.00 (20th)
3.50 (24th) Goals against per game 3.14 (16th)
14.9% (31st) PP% 20.0% (22nd)
81.3% (10th) PK% 80.0% (15th)
2-0-0 H2H Record ('21-22) 0-1-1

The Canadiens’ first stop is The Stampede City for a meeting with the Calgary Flames. The Flames, unsatisfied with a second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, were arguably the biggest newsmakers in the NHL off-season. After Johnny Gaudreau made tremors with his departure for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Flames decided not to risk the same thing with Matthew Tkachuk, instead trading him to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. Not content with that, Calgary general manager Brad Treliving further added Nazem Kadri to bolster his forward corps.

The total eventual salary cap cost? Twenty-three years, 183 million dollars.

If there was a dictionary definition for “going all in,” this would be it.

However, the Flames have been plagued by inconsistency — although that is perhaps not surprising given the extent of their roster turnover. After starting the season with five wins in six games, Calgary proceeded to drop their next seven. Since then, it’s been (give or take) two wins followed by a loss or two losses followed by a win, and the Flames find themselves an uncomfortable fifth in the Pacific Division.

Although the bulk of the spotlight has shone on their new stars, the offence has been largely collaborative. Elias Lindholm, Rasmus Andersson, and ex-Hab Tyler Toffoli co-lead the team with 16 points each, while four others (Kadri, Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund, and Noah Hanifin) are in double-digits. Hanifin, in particular, is showing that last season wasn’t a fluke, racking up 10 points while playing a career-high 22:43 on the first pairing next to Andersson. On the flip side, Andrew Mangiapane, coming off a career-high 35 goals last season, only has four in 22 games so far this campaign. Similarly, Lindholm’s 16 points are nothing to sneeze at, but the Flames were likely hoping for something closer to his 42-goal, 82-point breakout in 2021-22.

Interestingly, both teams are facing some questions in net. Darryl Sutter may be losing patience with starter Jacob Markström, choosing to start backup Dan Vladar in the last two games (and three of the last four). Sutter’s decision isn’t unreasonable; an .889 save percentage and 3.03 goals-against average is not what the Flames’ front office expected when they lured Markström away from the Vancouver Canucks three years ago with a six-year contract worth $36 million. At the other end of the ice, Samuel Montembeault has unquestionably outplayed Jake Allen during the last few weeks, which has led head coach Martin St-Louis to more or less alternate evenly between the two. With Allen playing on Tuesday against San Jose, Montembeault should see the net to kick off the western road trip.

The Flames’ off-season renovations would not have been fully possible without Sean Monahan, or rather, the trade that sent his contract to the Canadiens and freed up enough cap space to seriously pursue Kadri. In what is best described as a win-win situation, Monahan returns to the city where he spent his first nine seasons with 14 points, only one less than Kadri.

It will likely be an emotional night for the Habs’ second-line centre, and friends and foes alike hope that the Calgary crowd will recognize the toil and toll of Monahan’s Flames tenure, and Montreal will hope that that emotion will spill over into his teammates as well. That, combined with a bit more lethality in front of goal (especially against a team that does not give away much), will hopefully give the Canadiens a positive result.