Archive for the ‘Game Previews’ Category

April 3 – Buffalo Sabres

The Habs host the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre tonight in their second to last regulation game. With Pittsburgh’s win over the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday, at least one point is a must if the Canadiens hope to stay in contention for first place in the Eastern Conference. Because the Penguins hold the necessary tiebreaker (wins in this case), Les Habitants will have no choice but to beat them in the points column if they wish to become Eastern champions.

The Sabres, on the other hand, are struggling for a playoff spot after posting an impressive 113 points last season. They kept their hopes alive with a win in Toronto the other day but hope is beginning to wear thin.

Expect a tough game between these two teams today – they both have much to lose.

Ottawa Senators – April 1

After their tough loss to Toronto a few days ago the Habs are looking to clinch the Northeast Division title with a win over the Ottawa Senators tonight (although a single point would do the job). The Sens have continued their losing ways with a recent 4-0 thrashing by the Boston Bruins and are suddenly in at least minor trouble where the playoffs are concerned.

Saku Koivu remains out of the lineup with a foot injury and Mike Komisarek, while he did skate at practice today, will also be watching the game from afar. Mark Streit and Guilaumme Latendresse will both be back however.

Toronto Maple Leafs – March 29

The now-eliminated Toronto Maple Leafs will host the surging Habs Saturday at the Air Canada Centre; this game will be the second-to-last between Montreal and Toronto this season. With the Leafs coming off of two disapointing wins to the Boston Bruins and a humiliating elimation from post-season contention, don’t expect much punch out of this team.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, are hunting for their fifth straight win as they attempt to make things especially difficult for the trailing Penguins, Senators, Devils and Rangers in the race for number one spot in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo Sabres – March 28

The Habs begin a three game roadtrip when they are hosted by the Buffalo Sabres tonight. The Canadiens have clinched a playoff spot and are now seeking first place in the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference while the Sabres are struggling to stay in playoff position. With the Penguins’ win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday Montreal sits one point back of them in the East with a game in hand.

The Sabres sit five points back of eighth-place Boston but will face the Bruins twice in the coming 10 days, making the playoffs not a farfetced goal for Buffalo; expect them to come out hard tonight. Montreal has split its season series with the Sabres 3-3 so far this season.

March 24 – Ottawa Senators

The Habs host the Ottawa Senators tonight with a five point Northeast Division lead, their largest of the season over the struggling Sens. Despite the story told by the standings the Senators have dominated the Canadiens throughout the season, winning five of six games and outscoring Montreal 9-1 in their last two matches.

Carey Price will get the start for the Canadiens tonight as they attempt to bring Ottawa’s winning streak to an end and increase their hold on the division and the Eastern Conference itself. Mike Komisarek remains out of the lineup with a lower body injury.

March 20 – Boston Bruins

The Canadiens roll into Boston tomorrow to meet the Bruins for the first game of a home-and-home series that will end on Saturday at the Bell Centre. The Habs have completely dominated Boston this season, winning all six meetings so far; wins in both of them games will see Montreal complete a sweet nine-game season sweep.

Zdeno Chara is expected back in Boston’s lineup and Carey Price will give Halak a bump to take on the Bruins for the four time this season; Price is 3-0-0 with a 2.34 GAA this season against Boston.

With the Devils 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers on Wednesday, a two point game would give the Habs another one point lead in the Eastern Conference; the Devils next meet the New York Islanders on Friday.

March 18 – St. Louis Blues

The Blues have lost their lost ten games in a row and the Canadiens are hot on the trail of a first place Eastern Conference finish as the two teams come together at the Bell Centre on Tuesday for the first time since 2004.

I’m expecting the Habs to make quick work of this struggling team who has mathematically been eliminated from playoff contention. Jaroslav Halak will get his second straight start for Montreal, on the hunt for another shutout; Manny Legace is expected to start for St. Louis.

March 15 – New York Islanders

The Habs host the floundering New York Islanders tonight with the goal of staying in the midst of the pack searching for first place in the Eastern Conference. With a win today by New Jersey over the Colorado Avalanche the Canadiens need to win to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division, remaining one point behind the Devils.

Montreal has dominated the Islanders this season and will sweep the season series 4-0 with a win tonight.  Jaraoslav Halak will start tonight, giving Carey Price a break following his 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators earlier in the week.

March 13 – Ottawa Senators

With only eleven games remaining in the regular season and only two points seperating the Montreal Canadiens from the Ottawa Senators, the three remaining meetings between the two teams are suddenly all-important. The Habs host the Sens this evening at the Bell Centre with a two-point lead after having lost six of the seven games between the teams this season including that nasty 6-1 loss in their most recent meeting.

Daniel Alfredsson is out with an injury and Martin Gerber will get the start for Ottawa as the Habs look to continue their great play of late and help to secure their first divison title since the 1991-92 season.

March 9 – Anaheim Ducks

The Montreal Canadiens conclude their west coast road spin tonight as they are hosted by the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are coming off two of their worst games of the season, consecutive shutouts against Chicago and Colorado and will be hungry, despite the loss of high-scorer Corey Perry.

The Habs, meanwhile, are on a run and will look to take the top spot in the Eastern Conference back from the New Jersey Devils before they meet in Montreal on Tuesday. Carey Price will get the start after taking a game off against L.A. yesterday.

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