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Monday, March 3, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens at Kings (Game #63)

montreal canadiens vs los angeles kings 
Match Up:

Like Fievel, the Canadiens (34-21-7) are headed west. Their 4-game trip starts in Los Angeles on Monday when they play the Kings (34-22-6) at the Staples Center. The match starts at 10:30 and airs on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This is the second and final meeting between the Habs and Kings, LA already earned a decisive 6-0 victory at the Bell Centre earlier this season. The Kings got 6 goals from 6 different players in that match while Martin Jones made 31 saves to earn his second career shutout in his third NHL game.

What to Watch:

After giving up 2 third period goals to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Habs battled back for a 4-3 overtime win. PK Subban and Max Pacioretty each tallied on the power play and Andrei Markov quietly picked up three assists on the night. Pacioretty's power play marker was the OT winner and his second goal of the game. He leads the team with 29 on the season, which ties him for fifth in the league with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Martin St. Louis, Patrick Sharp and Ryan Getzlaf.

Jonathan Quick has been in top form for the Kings since returning from Sochi. Quick has stopped 49 of the last 50 shots faced in his two starts since the Olympic break ended. Anze Kopitar leads LA with 51 points on the year, he has 3 goals and 5 assists in his last 5 games.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens must take on the Kings, Ducks, Coyotes and Sharks on their West Coast road trip, 4 difficult teams that are even more difficult to beat in their own buildings. To start things off on a positive note, they'll need to beat the Kings who have been a perfect 3-0-0 since the Olympics ended. The Habs have moved 2 points up on the Lightning for second place in the Atlantic division and have a 3-point cushion over the Leafs.

Who's Out:

Carey Price is still listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, meaning Peter Budaj could get his fourth straight start Monday night. Brandon Prust (upper body), Michael Bournival (concussion) and Ryan White (flu) all traveled with the team, but White may be the only only one ready to face the Kings. Davis Drewiske has recovered from shoulder surgery earlier in the season but has been placed on waivers, if he is not claimed he will report to the Bulldogs.

The Kings don't have any injuries to deal with heading into Monday's action.

What Else:

While it hasn't always been pretty, the Canadiens are finding ways to collect points with Price on the sidelines. Montreal has come from behind in their last three games with the help of late third period goals to force overtime against the Wings, Penguins and Maple Leafs. Although they eventually lost to the Wings, the Habs managed to beat the Pens by way of shootout and the Leafs in overtime, helping them earn 5 of 6 points since the break and move into sole possession of third place in the East.

The Question Mark:

With a 7-1-2 record over their past 10 games, the Canadiens are the hottest team in the NHL right now. If you were Marc Bergevin, how would that affect your thought process as the trade deadline approaches?

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.

2 comments:

Whats working in our favor is the fact the Kings offense is not clicking like it was during the first matchup. This may very well be one of those 2-1 games if we can play solid defensively. If we can squeak this one into OT, even better.

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