Canadiens at Panthers - Game Preview
The Habs face the lowest scoring team in the Eastern conference tonight in Florida, a great opportunity to build on the win against Tampa Bay.
The last time the Montreal Canadiens faced the Florida Panthers, we were treated to a 4-1 win and Alex Galchenyuk's first NHL goal. Galchenyuk hasn't scored since then, a 10 game streak without hitting the twine.
The Canadiens have gone 6-3-1 since they met with Florida, whereas the Panthers have gone 3-5-2. However the Panthers have improved a fair bit. At one point the Panthers were by far the worst possession team in the NHL, but they've moved up to around the low 20's.
The Panthers are however, the second worst possession team in the league at home, something that clearly plays in the Habs favour, since they've been a terrible road team thus far.
The players to watch out for on the Panthers lately have been Tomas Fleischmann and Jonathan Huberdeau, although Brian Campbell is also always a danger from the blueline.
As already mentioned this morning, Jose Theodore gets the start for the Panthers, which is always fun for the Habs.
For the Habs, Tomas Plekanec has continued to be hot, and P.K. Subban has been tearing it up since his return to the lineup, in spite of limited ice time.
Carey Price will get the start for the Canadiens. After a hot start, Price has having a rough time the last couple days. He was excellent against Tampa Bay, but victimized on two lucky bounces, one that shouldn't have been called a goal.
Price's reaction in the shootout was to stop all three shots, but his anger following the game was palpable. Price is 4-4-1 against the Panthers in his career with a .934 save percentage and 2.10 GAA. Perhaps this is a game where he can get his stats back on track.
Nearly all of Price's diminished save percentage has come on the penalty kill, where he has been victim to terrible usage by the coaching staff. His even strength save percentage is still .936 on the season, a solid mark.
The lines for tonight's matchup are the same ones the Habs brought into Tampa Bay, although hopefully Therrien will give Max Pacioretty and Subban the ice time they deserve, and not the pittance they received on Tuesday.
For the perspective of the other side, check out Litter Box Cats