How to watch
Montreal played host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday in a duel between teams riding six-game losing streaks. You can’t say either team looked particularly keen to leave with the two points, but in the end, several goals from the visitors and a handful of posts from the Habs resulted in the Flyers adding another two points to their ledger.
With the result, the Flyers moved far enough ahead that the worst they can do is tie with the Canadiens at the end of the season while holding more wins, so that’s one less team in the running for the top odds for the NHL draft lottery.
With four games left, getting the best chance at the top prospect is the only obvious thing to strive for (if that verb can be applied in this situation), and already having lost seven games in a row, what are four more? But despite the situation, there are still a few milestones to reach over the final week of action.
Tale of the Tape
|45.0% (29th)||Scoring-chances-for %||47.3% (23rd)|
|2.53 (31st)||Goals per game||2.68 (26th)|
|3.86 (32nd)||Goals against per game||3.21 (22nd)|
|13.1% (31st)||PP%||19.3% (22nd)|
|74.9% (27th)||PK%||80.2% (13th)|
Jeff Petry will achieve the first of those the moment the puck is dropped at Canadian Tire Centre. The game versus the Ottawa Senators will be his 800th regular-season contest. This year may have been one of the most forgettable of his NHL career, but he is clearly determined to finish it on a high note, being one of the few players to show any interest in Thursday’s game. By several reports, these will be his final matches in a Canadiens jersey after playing in Montreal for more than seven seasons, and it seems he wants his last impressions to be representative of his best ones with the team.
We also saw Cole Caufield score a goal late, ending a relatively long drought for this second half of the season and now leaving him just one shy of 20 in his rookie year. There was some concern that the drop in the team’s play was going to prevent him from reaching that milestone, but now he’ll have upwards of 80 shifts to get that final tally.
Nick Suzuki has already achieved a career high of 20 goals, and he’ll be one of the players trying to set up Caufield for his anticipated goal as he aims for 40 assists on the season and the 60-point plateau. This is the final year of his entry-level contract before the start of a major extension brings increased expectations, and that would be a good number to set him up for his first season as the highest-paid skater on the team.
The Senators have had their fill of losing after sitting near the bottom of the league for several seasons. They now have plenty of young talent and want to start putting it to use. They’ve been testing themselves versus a few good clubs as the season winds down, and have claimed at least one point versus the Boston Bruins (regulation win), Toronto Maple Leafs (overtime loss), and red-hot Vancouver Canucks (shootout win) in their recent body of work. They enter tonight’s game with four wins in their past six contests, aiming for a season-series split with Montreal to keep those results coming.
Brady Tkachuk is the Senators player aiming for a milestone in this game. Last night he notched his 29th goal of 2021-22 versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, and 30 would be eight better than the mark of 22 he set in his rookie season.
Ottawa’s top four point-producers are all under the age of 23, and now it’s time for the organization to start adding quality veterans to the club to challenge for a playoff position rather than just cling to the perpetual potential to do good things in the future. Maybe a solid end to their season will be what it takes to attract a star player or two to commit to the plan that has been stuck in the starting stages for multiple seasons.