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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Panthers (Game #35)

habs_panthers_oct242011 
Match Up:

The Canadiens (20-11-3) are home to host the Panthers (11-17-5) Sunday night, after squeaking out a 1-0 overtime win in Long Island the night before. There's an early start to this one, the puck drops at 6:00 and the game will air on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This is the first of four meetings between the Habs and Panthers this season. Last year the Habs went 3-0-0 against Florida, allowing just 3 goals against in the 3 meetings. In the second meeting last season, Carey Price posted a 1-0 OT shutout in Florida, making 26 saves in the effort.

What to Watch:

David Desharnais was the hero for Montreal Saturday night, a powerful forecheck in overtime freed up the puck and he was able to find Max Pacioretty who buried the OT winner. Price made 21 saves to earn his second shutout of the season. It's unclear whether Price or Peter Budaj will get the start on Saturday.

With 24 points, PK Subban still leads the Habs in scoring, however he's now gone 6 games without a point.

The Panthers also took their last game beyond regulation, they beat the Capitals 3-2 in a shootout that lasted 10 rounds Friday night. Florida does not have a single player with over 20 points at this point in the season, so it's no surprise they're among the leagues worst in terms of goals per game, only ahead of the Sabres. Scottie Upshall leads the Panthers with 17 points.

What's at Stake:

Despite a win against the Islanders on Saturday, the Canadiens lack of offensive production over their last three games is a major cause for concern. The team has just 2 goals in their last 3 and haven't scored a power play marker in over 6 games. The Panthers are allowing over 3 goals a game on average and have the third worst penalty kill in the league, presenting the Habs with a golden opportunity to get back on track.

Who's Out:

George Parros (head) left Saturday's match after his first period fight with Eric Boulton. Rene Bourque (upper body) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder) are also out.

The Panthers are without Tim Thomas (groin) and Ed Jovanovski (hip). Jonathan Huberdeau suffered a minor injury Friday against the Caps and will be a game time decision in Montreal.

What Else:

After an offensive outburst for David Desharnais that started in Montreal's 6-2 win over the Wild on November 19, and saw him score 9 points in 8 games, his assist in OT last night broke a 5-game drought. Desharnais and his linemate Max Pacioretty haven't produced as expected this season, the duo combine for 26 points. At the same time, Pacioretty does lead the team with 12 goals on the year, including the last 2 power play goals the Habs have scored.

The Question Mark:

While Michel Therrien has been hitting the shuffle button on the Habs' forwards lines, are you satisfied with the defensive pairings or would you rather see other combinations?

Let us know what you think by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter or just leave a comment.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

3 comments:

Good article on Yahoo Sports titled 'Why the Canadiens arent consider a contender" Well, lack of talent for one, and look at these names, Diaz, Gorges, Boullion, Gionta, Desharnais, Briere, Bourque, Moen, Parros and White... Tell me, How many teams, (even the bottom feeders). have so many useless players that you couldnt trade because they have little or no value. Wake up.

@Note..Florida-2 Montreal-1 tonight..inMontreal.

Above..Anonymous. May be the comment of the year.

@anon: Bravo! Well said!

@guy: And how!

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