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

Slumping Canadiens look to 2023 for fresh start.

Montreal Canadiens v Dallas Stars Photo by Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Nashville Predators

How to watch

Start time: 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Predators region: BSSO

The Montreal Canadiens are, for a lack of a better word, struggling. But eventually, something’s got to give. The team has seemingly lost its chemistry, all cylinders haven’t been clicking, thus they’re hoping a trip to Nashville will help them start the 2023 year off with a much-needed win.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Predators
Canadiens Statistics Predators
15-19-3 Record 15-14-6
44.26% (27th) Scoring-chances-for % 48.46% (23rd)
2.59 (30th) Goals per game 2.63 (29th)
3.73 (28th) Goals against per game 3.03 (16th)
15.5% (32nd) PP% 16.8% (28th)
74.6% (22nd) PK% 78.3% (17th)
1-0-1 21-22 H2H Record 1-1-0

Montreal (15-19-3) has been heavily outscored throughout their season-high five-game losing skid by a 26-8 margin, including 16-4 in their last two contests alone. They haven’t won a game since they escaped out of Arizona with a 3-2 overtime win back on December 19.

They capped off their last game on New Year’s Eve and found themselves on the losing end of a 9-2 destruction at the hands of Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals captain showed his age wasn’t a factor and helped with his team’s onslaught, scoring three (career nos. 804, 805, 806) for his 30th career NHL hat trick.

Two former Canadiens also helped with the win; Charlie Lindgren, who played parts of 2015-20, made 31 saves for his 11th win of the year. And Erik Gustafsson, who helped Montreal reach the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2021 by dressing for 16 playoff games, also had a big game Saturday, recording a goal and two helpers in the win.

Habs phenom Cole Caufield was the sole source of offence for his team, notching goals 20 and 21 in the loss. He’s now two away from tying his career-high, set last season when he notched 23 in 67 games.

Jake Allen, who was entrusted as the starting goalie this season after Carey Price stated he would unlikely dress this season, was trounced, letting in a career-high nine goals on 40 shots. Through 25 games this season, the Fredericton, New Brunswick native has found himself with his career-worst numbers, with a 3.52 goals-against-average and .894 save percentage. Numbers unseen by him in his nine previous seasons.

For what it's worth, the Predators (15-14-6) have also had their fair share of a rocky season, playing close to .500 hockey. Through their last ten games they’ve gone 3-3-4; a whopping four overtime losses at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche and most recently on New Year’s Eve, a 5-4 nail-biter to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Veteran all-star Filip Forsberg came up big despite the loss, notching his ninth career hat trick, and first since November 30, 2021, when he exploded for four against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his last three games, he racked up five goals and seven points, good enough to earn the NHL First Star of the Week honours. With 32 points through his first 35 games this season, he’s on pace to get close to his career-high set last season when he scored 42 and had 84 points through 69 games.

Nashville captain Roman Josi has also been having yet another great campaign, with eight goals and 28 points on the backend. However, he’s a far cry from his offensive explosion of a season last year when he was just four points short of the century mark.

Between the pipes, Jusse Saros has had a decent season, with 12 wins in 27 games.

It’ll be a back-and-forth affair, as the Predators will be in town to face Montreal next Thursday, January 12, on a night that honours former all-star defenseman P.K. Subban, who played for both franchises (and New Jersey) in his illustrious career.

These two teams split the season series last season on their home ice respectively. The Canadiens took the first contest by doubling up Nashville 6-3, led by two goals by former Hab Ryan Poehling’s two goals. Samuel Montembeault picked up the win, while Predator forward Matt Duchene had a hat trick in the loss.

A couple of weeks later, Nashville were the victors in Music City when they edged Montreal 4-3 in an overtime thriller and Forsberg getting the winner past Allen.

One thing is for sure, both of these teams need a win. But, alas, there can only be one victor. We’ll find out which one gets it ... at the rink.