The Oilers invade the Bell Center Tuesday night, as Edmonton come’s to town. Ryan Smyth will lead his struggling Oilers into town, hoping to end their mini two game losing streak. After being robbed of a point on Friday after a blown call by Mick McGeough, the Oilers are sure to be on a mission, as they look get back to their previous winning ways. The Habs are coming off a loss to the Devils, and also hope to get back into the win column.
It is expected that a red-hot David Aebischer will get the start. In his last two games, David is 1-0-1 with a goals against average of 2.88 and a save percentage of .929. He has his work cut out for him however, following another excellent goaltending display this week. This display however was from his partner Cristobal Huet. David is expected to battle Dwayne Roloson, who is 6-5 on the season with a goals against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .910.
Despite what is sure to be a great goalie match up, there is an even bigger story coming out of Montreal regarding Tuesday night’s game. The Canadiens sophomore sensation Chris Higgins is expected to be sidelined for the game. Higgins sustained an injury to his left ankle Saturday, after taking a check by the Devils’ Colin White. He is currently listed as day to day. Out of misfortune comes opportunity though. Needing to fill the spot on the top line, coach Guy Carbonneau has moved rookie Guillaume Latendresse to the top line to play along side Captain Saku Koivu, and struggling sniper Michael Ryder. Although not putting up a single point in his first thirteen career NHL games, Latendresse has showed occasional flashes of brilliance. It is obvious that Carbonneau is trying to get his first line going again.
This will be the only meeting of the year for these two teams. In their only previous post-lockout match up, the Oil beat Montreal 5-3 on December 15th, 2005. Moreau notched two tallies, and Higgins, Ryder and Murray were the goal scorers for Montreal. These of course are two very different teams. Edmonton no longer has the defensive tower of power, Chris Pronger. The Oilers now play an upbeat offensive game. Meanwhile, the Theodore days are over. Eight players who dawned the red, white and blue for that game aren’t even on tomorrow’s night roster.
On the injury front, Mathieu Dandenault , Francis Boullion and Chris Higgins are all currently on the disabled list. Dandenault and Higgins are listed as day to day while Boullion is still out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Projected Canadiens Lineup
Latendresse – Koivu – Ryder
Samsonov – Kovalev – Perezhogin
Begin – Bonk – Johnson
Murray – Plekanec – Downey
Souray – Rivet
Markov – Komisarek
Niinimaa – Streit