Rabid Habs

Preview: Montreal Canadiens vs Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks Gameday

The Montreal Canadiens ended their treacherous 4 game road trip with an admirable 3-1-0 record. Le bleu, blanc et rouge will look to extend their recent string of impressive performances with a victory against one of the top forces the NHL has witnessed in the salary cap era; the Chicago Blackhawks.

This game will be a tall task for the Canadiens, considering the ample amount of talent the Blackhawks currently have. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford and Marian Hossa are only a few names that the Canadiens will have to withstand at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens will not be scared, in spite of the offensive prowess the Blackhawks currently maintain. The Canadiens are coming off an impressive come from behind victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night, and have won seven of their last eight contests. Carey Price is expected to get the start, having allowed less than two goals a game over his last eight starts.

The last time these teams played one another was all the way back on the 13th of November. Unfortunately, Montreal lost a closely contested match by the score of 3-2. Gustav Forsling, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa snatched the goals for Chicago while Andrei Markov and Shea Weber chipped in for Montreal.

The Numbers Game:

Montreal Canadiens

Statistic

Chicago Blackhawks

39-22-8

Record

40-23-5

189

GF

204

2.74

GFA

3.00

172

GA

171

2.49

GAA

2.51

8-2-0

L10

8-2-0

MTL 4 EDM 1

Last Game

CHI 4 MIN 2

 

Who’s hot? Who’s cold?

Cold: Ryan Hartman has been dealing with a scoring slump going pointless for the 7th consecutive game. Hartman has simply not been shooting the puck enough registering only 11 shots on net in that 7 game span.

Hot: Truthfully, this isn’t a surprise. Jonathan Toews has been nothing but magnificent for the past 2 months, accumulating 10 goals and 25 points in the span of 20 games. To put that points total into perspective, Jonathan Toews only racked up 23 points in 34 games prior to his scoring outburst.

Habs Lineup:

After Montreal’s impressive 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal’s head coach Claude Julien shuffled the lines in search of more offense ahead of Montreal’s bout with the Chicago Blackhawks.

First of all, Claude Julien was right to put Galchenyuk back on the 1st line along with Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov. The decision to put Galchenyuk back on the top line was an easy call for Claude Julien knowing full well that the Habs have been struggling offensively for quite some time. We also have to consider the fact that the Habs don’t maintain the offensive firepower to evenly distribute their talent throughout their top 9. The Pacioretty- Galchenyuk – Radulov trio will be a force to reckoned with offensively.

Before this season, I assumed that Phillip Danault would be a competent 3rd line center at his absolute best. Boy was I wrong, Danault is definitely capable of centering the 2nd line given that number 24 is defensively sound, pretty fast and obtains decent puck handling skills to further improve his line mates.

Tomas Plekanec will replace Michael McCarron tonight. Tomas Plekanec missed the match against Edmonton due to an illness.

On the defensive side of the game, Brandon Davidson surprisingly got the nod over Nathan Beaulieu to start in tonight’s game. Claude Julien’s decision to keep Emelin in the lineup is disappointing considering what we’ve seen from the Russian blue-liner over the course of the season. Emelin’s play has been lackluster for the vast majority of the season and it certainly doesn’t look like his play is going to improve from here on in. What I find even more mind-boggling is that Nathan Beaulieu has been playing some decent hockey since being paired with a responsible defender in Jordie Benn.

Carey Price gets the start.

Game time is 7:30 pm EST. Watch on Sportsnet East and RDS

Game time is 7:30 pm EST. Watch on Sportsnet East and RDS.

Follow Robert Brown on Twitter @TheStandardBrit and follow @Rabidhabs for more updates!