This afternoon the Canadiens will host the
Florida Panthers. Just six days ago Maxim Lapierre had a natural hat trick in
Sunrise, Florida and helped the Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers.
Montreal also won the first meeting of the year with the Panthers 3-1 on October
20th courtesy of a pair of third period goals by Francis Bouillon and Tomas
Max Pacioretty scored the only Canadiens goal on Friday night and during his
brief 8 minutes and change of ice time was one of the Habs best forwards.
Pacioretty was recalled from Hamilton on Friday morning and it appears he has
earned a spot on the Canadiens top line with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev for
today’s contest. Andrei Kostitsyn who was invisible on Friday will join his
brother Sergei and Robert Lang on the 2nd line bumping Matt D’Agostini to the
4th line with Kyle Chipchura and Steve Begin.
D’Agostini may be feeling the pressure with two more call ups from Hamilton now
on the Canadiens roster. Matt had scored 4 goals in his first 5 games and 6 in
his first 10 but since then he has not been the same player. D’Agostini has not
scored in 4 games and has just 5 shots in those games. Prior to that he had 38
in his first 11 games. D’Agostini was also a team worst -3 on Friday night.
Carey Price is not ready to return as Jaroslav Halak will be back in goal. Halak
had what he believed to be his worst outing of the year on Friday and he will be
given the opportunity to atone for that this afternoon. Halak said he quite
simply did not get his job done on Friday and that was why the team lost.
Halak can only accept so much blame though as the Canadiens team defense was
terrible including Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek and Andrei Markov who made a
slew of gaffs which Halak nor their defensive partners could make up for.
The Panthers are coming off a romping of the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday
afternoon 6-1. Not only did they null the Penguins offence they also goaded
Sidney Crosby into 21 minutes in penalties including a 5 minute major and 10
minute misconduct. 12 different Panthers recorded a point and 6 had multi point
nights. Craig Anderson made 29 saves for the win.
1. The Canadiens will attempt to win 5 straight against the Panthers,
something they have never done.
2. The Habs all time record against the Panthers is 24-25-6-1-1. The
Panthers are the only NHL team with a winning record against the Habs.
3. Tomas Plekanec has scored in both games against Florida this year but
has just one goal in his last 13 games.