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

The players now all know their fates as the final quarter of the season begins.

Montreal Canadiens v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Anaheim Ducks

How to watch

Start time: **10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST**
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Ducks region: Bally Sports West
Streaming: ESPN+, RDS Direct, TSN+

The trade deadline has come and gone, and both the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks have completed their moves.

Montreal started off this week by acquiring Denis Gurianov for Evgenii Dadonov, and Gurianov just scored his first goal with the Habs last night in Los Angeles. There were some other options for trades, including Joel Edmundson and Jonathan Drouin, but in his post-deadline media availability, Kent Hughes said he didn’t get a deal that made sense for those players, specifically with regard to retaining salary on their contracts to facilitate a deal, preferring to keep one slot open for a possible move at the draft.

In the case of Sean Monahan, Hughes revealed that the centreman sustained a new injury while rehabbing his foot injury, and it’s that new issue that is keeping him out of the lineup right now. The foot injury is healed, but now it’s questionable whether he’ll be recovered from the separate ailment in time to play before this season comes to a close.

Anaheim made a few minor deals in the days leading up to the deadline, hanging onto their two biggest pieces, defencemen John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov, until the final hours. Kulikov was traded fairly early today, for NHL forward Brock McGinn and a draft pick. Klingberg’s deal wasn’t announced until after the deadline had passed, netting defenceman Andrej Sustr and a fourth-round pick. That return is significantly less than general manager Pat Verbeek expected when he inked Klingberg to a one-year deal in the summer looking ahead to this day, and in the end that deal wasn’t the jump start to Anaheim’s rebuild that he had hoped.

The net result is two players exiting the Ducks’ blue line, so they’ll have to get someone up to Anaheim quickly to have six defencemen for tonight’s game. These moves will weaken the roster, and it’s one that was already sitting third-last in the league going into today.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Ducks
Canadiens Statistics Ducks
26-31-4 Record 20-34-8
44.0% (29th) Scoring-chances-for % 41.2% (31st)
2.70 (27th) Goals per game 2.50 (31st)
3.58 (26th) Goals against per game 4.06 (32nd)
16.5% (30th) PP% 15.6% (32nd)
74.0% (28th) PK% 73.3% (30th)
0-1-0 H2H Record 1-0-0

Despite Anaheim’s low standing, the club still managed to beat Montreal in the first meeting of the season, and the four-goal difference in that 6-2 result stands as the largest margin of victory they’ve had all year.

At the time, it was also just their second regulation victory of year. Recently they’ve strung together one of their best stretches of the season, winning three games in a row in regulation time, including over the Carolina Hurricanes, before falling in overtime versus the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The difference for them has been defensively, as they have allowed no more than three goals in those four games, directly following a stretch during which they surrendered at least six four times in five matches.

John Gibson has been on a roll, stopping 179 of the last 190 shots he’s faced for a .942 save percentage. This season hasn’t been much fun for the goaltender who would perennially post a .920-plus save percentage to start his career, but he still manages runs such as this to show the quality he could provide should Anaheim build a competitive roster around him.

The Canadiens have no additions to wait for or vacancies to fill after today’s activity, but they do have an injury to Justin Barron to contend with. The rookie defenceman sustained a shoulder injury on a hit early in the game versus Los Angeles, and he’ll be unable to play in this one. With Edmundson’s return, the Habs still have six healthy defencemen on the road trip, and Chris Tierney can step back in, so their 18 skaters are all accounted for.

Now that the stress of the deadline has been lifted, it will be interesting to see how the players respond. Some of them have been hearing their names in rumours for weeks now, not knowing where they would be after 3 PM today, but there may be some relief that no major changes are coming to the group, even if it is one that won’t see any playoff time this spring.

The players have done well on the road trip so far, first with a win in San Jose and then forcing the Kings to defend a one-goal lead in the dying minutes of last night’s game. Perhaps the reduced pressure on some of the players will allow for even more open play tonight as the Canadiens try to return the favour of that 6-2 defeat from back on December 15.