The struggling Montreal Canadiens (14-11-4) stumble into Tuesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (13-14-3). The game marks first time this season that early Hart Trophy favourite Vincent Lecavalier comes to Montreal. The puck drop is at 7:30pm EST and can be seen on RDS and TSN.
The Habs are coming off a horrible 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. The lone goal for Montreal was a powerplay marker scored by Andrei Kostitsyn. The Canadiens are mired in a deep slump and are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. The team defence that was playing so well at the outset of the season has all but fallen apart, leaving Carey Price and Cristobal Huet badly exposed in the net.
Tampa Bay was also beaten badly in their game Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto won the game 6-1; however the bigger story was the injury to Brad Richards in the second period. Richards left the game with what appeared to be a leg injury after crashing hard into the boards. If the injury is as bad as it looked Richards should be doubtful versus the Habs.
The last time these two teams met was January 2, 2007 at the Bell Centre. Montreal came away 5-2 winners that day, and took the season series 3-1 against the Lightning last season. The line juggling continues for the Canadiens again on Tuesday night with Mathieu Dandenault getting a shot on the first line with Koivu and Higgins. It also appears Ryder will find himself on the third line with Chipchura and Latendresse. The second and fourth lines look to remain unchanged. Carey Price will again get the nod in goal as Cristobal Huet is still recovering from a groin strain.
In order for Montreal to get back on track and get a win on Tuesday they will need to shut down the NHL’s leading point man in Lecavalier. The Lightning pose a very potent top line and if they are not looked after it will be another long night for Carey Price in goal. Besides tightening up the defence, the Habs will need people to step up and put the puck in the back of the net. The offence has really been struggling the last ten games and has resulted in Guy Carbonneau consistently shuffling the lines. As pressure mounts from the fans and media a repeat performance of Saturday night is not acceptable.
After the Lightning, the Habs are set for a date with the Flyers on Thursday night in Philadelphia and another match versus the hated Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Bell Centre.