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

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Game 40: Montreal Canadiens @ Philadelphia Flyers

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English)
In the Canadien region: RDS (French)
In the Flyers region: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Streaming: ESPN+, Sportsnet, RDS

Montreal breaks up its homestand for a quick trip to Pennsylvania to take on the Philadelphia Flyers. The one road game amidst five at the Bell Centre gives head coach Martin St-Louis the chance to get Cayden Primeau between the pipes once more, Primeau’s first game since starting versus the Carolina Hurricanes on December 28. That night brought the goaltender’s first loss in his road-white jersey this season after starting out on a four-game winning streak.

Primeau won’t face such a powerful offensive team in his second post-Christmas start. The Flyers have scored 20 fewer goals than their Metropolitan Division rival, one of just 12 teams averaging under three goals per game this season. The team is alternating with the St. Louis Blues on a game-by-game basis for the worst power-play efficiency in the NHL, both scoring on about every 10th opportunity they receive.

Yet the gap between Carolina and Philadelphia in the standings is just three points as the teams occupy the second and third seeds in the Metro, respectively. Philadelphia’s defensive game has compensated for the club’s offensive woes through half of the season, and has what was supposed to be a rebuilding franchise sitting in a playoff spot.

Canadiens Statistics Flyers
17-17-5 Record 20-14-6
45.8% (28th) Scoring-chances-for % 49.1% (21st)
2.74 (28th) Goals per game 2.85 (25th)
3.44 (26th) Goals against per game 2.78 (7th)
17.9% (23rd) PP% 10.8% (32nd)
72.7% (28th) PK% 86.2% (2nd)
2-1-0 Head-to-Head Record (22-23) 1-1-1

Philadelphia’s grasp on that position is beginning to slip, however. Thanks to a handful of wins in games going past regulation time, they held a record of 18-11-4 when the league paused for the holidays. Since the break, the overtime games have been losses, leading to a 2-3-2 mark since.

Despite maintaining their good defensive play, the already challenged offence has been extremely difficult to come by as they sit among the likes of the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks right at the bottom of the list in goals per game since the league resumed on December 27.

Leading scorer Travis Konecny has to be wondering what is happening to his team. He’s produced five goals and four assists in the past seven games, but defenceman Egor Zamula is the only other player on the roster with more than one goal in that time.

The situation hasn’t been a lot different for the Canadiens, but the offence in their last game was encouraging. For a rare time this season, Montreal didn’t get any goals from the defence or the top line, and still pulled out a win. Each of the bottom three lines got on the scoresheet versus the New York Rangers.

If some of that secondary scoring can be maintained while the trio of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, and Juraj Slafkovský and the defence continue to produce, the Habs could see some of the wins start to accumulate that the players have felt they’ve deserved of late.

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