Vancouver Canucks (8-3-2) at Montreal Canadiens (8-5-1) – Tuesday,
November 9, 2010
The Montreal Canadiens host the Vancouver Canucks tonight, marking the first
of two meetings between the teams this year. The clubs played each
twice last season, with the home team emerging victorious each time.
Despite their record, the Canadiens have struggled of late, losing 3 of their
last 4 games, and only scoring 6 goals over that span. To Montreal’s
dismay, Vancouver is currently one of the hottest teams in the league, having
won 6 straight games. Tonight marks the beginning of a 5-game road-trip
for the Canucks, who are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Montreal is 6-4-0
over the same span.
Canadian goaltending talent will be on display Tuesday night, as Carey Price
(7-5-1, 2.45 GAA, .911 SV%) will likely face Roberto Luongo (5-3-2, 2.76 GAA,
.909 SV%). Price has been the Canadiens’ go-to goalie thus far, starting
in all but one game. Surprisingly, Price has played more than perennial
workhorse Luongo, who has received more than capable support from Cory Schneider
(3-0-0, 0.90 GAA, .969 SV%). Nevertheless, it is assumed that the
Quebec-born Luongo will want to play in front of his hometown crowd.
Luongo is an all-time 9-9-5, with a 2.43 goals-against average and .924 save
percentage against the Habs, while Price surrendered 7 goals on 33 shots in his
only start against the Canucks for a loss.
As usual, the Canucks are led by the scoring prowess of the Sedin twins, who
have each recorded 16 points through 13 games. Daniel leads the team in
goals (9-7-16) while his brother Henrik tops the assists category (2-14-16).
Montreal’s offense has fizzled of late, with the majority of scoring coming from
the cleverly-dubbed PhD line of Benoit Pouliot (4-4-8), Jeff Halpern (4-6-10) and
Mathieu Darche (2-2-4). Nevertheless, it is Tomas Plekanec (5-6-11) that
leads the Habs in scoring, followed by Halpern and Andrei Kostitsyn (6-4-10).
The story of futility continues with Montreal’s powerplay, as they are a sad
6.4% on the year and dwell in the basement in the category. Conversely,
the Canucks are the best team with the man advantage, successfully converting
29.4% of their chances. It goes without saying that Montreal’s successful
penalty-killing units (87.9%) will be sufficiently bombarded while Vancouver’s
PK (85.4%) will likely remain relatively untested.
The Canadiens have no significant injuries while the Canucks will be missing
Sami Salo (Achilles surgery), Alex Bolduc (ankle) and Guillaume Desbiens (hand).
Ryan Parent (groin) is considered questionable for
tonight’s game while Dan Hamhuis is slated to return from a foot injury. Dustin Boyd was placed on waivers yesterday, but was unclaimed by any of the other 29 NHL teams.
The forward lines from yesterday’s practice were as follows:
Game-time is 7:30 EST and the game can be seen on RDS, Sportsnet Pacific and
Preview written by Matt Dilworth