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Preview: Montreal at Calgary – October 6th,

9:00 PM EDT, RDS, Sportsnet West

The Montreal Canadiens kick off their
3-game Western swing on Tuesday, starting with a game versus the Calgary
Flames.  Both teams are perfect in their debuts, going 2-0-0, but with Montreal
needing overtime in both games to secure victories.  Montreal must surely be
hoping that their trek out west goes better than last year, when they were
outscored 17 to 6 in losing all 3 games to their Canadian rivals.  Of note,
Calgary and Montreal split the series last year, with both teams winning their
games on home ice.  Jaroslav Halak was in net for both games, winning 4-1 in
December and losing 6-2 in February, but will reportedly see his first start in
Vancouver on Wednesday.  It is assumed that the Habs will start Carey Price in
goal (1.89 GAA, .951 SV%) and face Miikka Kiprusoff in the opposing net (3.00
GAA, .921 SV%).

This will be Mike Cammalleri’s first game in Calgary after leaving the Flames as a free-agent this
past off-season.  He will be counted on to ignite an Andrei Markov-less
powerplay that struggled against the Buffalo Sabres this past Saturday, going 0
for 6 with the man advantage.   The Flames have had no such problems in their
first two games, and have converted 67% of their powerplay opportunities.  So
far, both teams have struggled slightly on the penalty-kill, with the Flames and
Canadiens going 75% and 70% respectively.

The Habs’ top line of Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta will have their work cut out for them,
matching up against a stacked Calgary blueline of Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester
and Robyn Regher.  In spite of their elite defenders, the Flames are amongst the
league leaders in shots allowed, permitting an average of 38 shots per game,
which is only slightly better than Montreal’s atrocious average of 40.5 shots

After 2 games, Montreal has
a pair of players tied for the scoring lead.  Gionta and Travis Moen are tied
with 2 goals apiece, whereas David Moss is leading the Flames with a couple of
goals of his own.  Nevertheless, it is only a matter of time before Jarome
Iginla and Olli Jokinen start producing, and you can be sure that Montreal’s
defense will be focusing on shutting down that top line for Calgary.

Yannick Weber will be
joining the team from Hamilton, replacing the newly-injured Ryan O’Byrne, and
will likely pair up with Josh Gorges.  Glen Metropolit is nursing an upper-body
injury, and may be replaced in the lineup by Kyle Chipchura, who was recently
medically cleared to play.

these teams may lack the intense rivalry that existed in the 1986 and 1989
Stanley Cup Finals, both teams will be looking to remain undefeated on the

Matt Dilworth ([email protected])