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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Avalanche (Game #70)

habs canadiens match up avalanch colorado vs nhl 
Match Up:

The Canadiens (37-25-7) welcome Patrick Roy to the Bell Centre for the first time as coach of the Avalanche (44-19-5) Tuesday night. The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This is the last of two meetings between the Habs and Avs this season, and the only one in Montreal. Colorado won the first game 4-1 on the strength of three unanswered third period goals, including PA Parenteau's empty netter. Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog each scored for the Avalanche, while Habs youngsters Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk and PK Subban combined for Montreal's lone goal.

What to Watch:

Michel Therrien changed around his lineup again for Sunday's game again the Sabres, putting Brian Gionta alongside Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk while Daniel Briere and Brendan Gallagher played on a line with Tomas Plekanec. Thomas Vanek had 6 shots against his former club on Sunday but is still looking for his first goal as a Hab.

While Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche with 64 points in 65 games, even more impressive may be the fact the the offensive duo of Landeskog and 18-year old MacKinnon are each a plus 19 this season, sharing the team lead in that department. With 52 points, MacKinnon leads all rookies in scoring. The Avs already have 5 players to hit the 20 goal mark this season, Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon are all there along with Ryan O'Reilly and Paul Stastny.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens and the Avalanche are both fighting for home  playoff races but the return of Patrick Roy to Montreal as coach of the Avalanche will take center stage. Roy has his team just a point ahead of Chicago in the race for second place in the Central and home ice advantage in the playoffs. The Canadiens are in a three-way fight with the Leafs and the Bolts for second in their division and home ice in the first round.

Who's Out:

Michael Bournival has been cleared to play but will be doing so in Hamilton, he was sent to the Bulldogs on a conditioning stint following his concussion. Josh Gorges (hand) is still out until at least the start of April.
The Avs are without PA Parenteau (knee) and Alex Tanguay (hip) while Paul Stastny is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

What Else:

Patrick Roy returns to Montreal, bringing together the only two teams he ever played for, winning a combined 4 Stanley Cups, a pair with each of his teams and the last two in their history. As impressive as his on ice performances were, he's off to a strong start in his second NHL career. The Avs are already up to 93 points with over a dozen games left on the season, on pace for their best regular season record since the 2000-01, the year of their last Cup win.

The Question Mark:

Something a little special for the Question Mark today, send your answers to @MTLHockeytalk on Twitter with the hashtag #MTLHockey:

  • Draw the most unfair comparison you can of Carey Price to Patrick Roy.
Tune in to the Pregame Show at 6:30 on montrealhockeytalk.com where we'll get to your answers. And be sure to tune in after the game to the Montreal Hockey Talk Post Game Show.

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