Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Jets (Game #56)

montreal canadiens vs winnipeg jets inaugural 
Match Up:

The Canadiens (29-20-6) play host to the Winnipeg Jets (26-25-5) Sunday afternoon, hours prior to Super Bowl 48. The game starts at 1:00 pm and airs on RDS and CBC.

This is the second and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Canadiens earned a 3-0 victory in Winnipeg in October. Brandon Prust scored the game winning goal 2 minutes into the game, while Carey Price made 36 saves to earn the shutout.

What to Watch:

The Canadiens had trouble producing offense against the Lightning Saturday afternoon especially with the man advantage. During their 4 power play chances the Habs had just 5 shots and allowed 4 against, giving up a shorthanded goal in the process. Previously a top-5 team on the power play the Canadiens have slipped to 15th in the league with an 18.6% efficiency and a distressing 15.5% effectiveness on home ice.

Since new head coach  Paul Maurice took over the reigns, the Jets have gone 7-2-0 with their only losses coming by one-goal deficits. Dustin Byfuglien seems to have transitioned to forward full time, except for a bit of point duty in power play situations. Buff has 2 goals and 4 assists since Maurice took over.

What's at Stake:

The OT loss to Tampa Saturday afternoon left the Habs 5 points back of the Bolts, and with the Leafs beating the Senators Saturday night they're also 2 points behind Toronto. After losing 4 straight, the Canadiens have now earned points in their last 3 games. With just one week of hockey left until the Olympic break, they'll try to keep that streak alive as long as possible.

Who's Out:

Alex Galchenyuk (hand) won't be ready to play until after the Olympic break, but Ryan White (upper body) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder) are getting close to their returns. Michael Bournival (illness) missed Saturday's game against the Bolts, and will likely be a game time decision against the Jets.

The Jets are missing Evander Kane (hand) who suffered a deep cut against the Lightning early in January, returned to action later in the month but was again forced out when the hand became infected. Grant Clitsome (back), Jim Slater (hernia) and Matt Halischuk (forearm) are also out for Winnipeg.

What Else:

The Canadiens tradition of playing back-to-back games on Super Bowl weekend dates back to 1991, that year the Bruins beat the Habs 3-1 on Super Bowl Sunday. During the Super Bowl that year, the Buffalo Bills would lose their first of four straight Championship appearances, dropping a 20-19 decision to the New York Giants. In 2011, the Habs and Jets faced off on Super Bowl Sunday and the Canadiens skated off with a 3-0 victory. In the 22 Sunday games since 1991, the Habs have gone 13-8-0 with 1 tie.

The Question Mark:

Broncos or Seahawks?

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

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.


I hope Bournival returns. This kid is good and deserves the chance. That said....I suspect MT has him back on the 4th line, because Brier scored a goal while playing in his spot on that line. Sad I suspected. On a 4th line with Moen and Thomas. Man this guy is bad for young players. Ugh

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