Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens Vs Coyotes (Game #65)

montreal canadiens vs phoenix coyotes nhl
Match Up:

The Canadiens (35-22-7) next stop is in Phoenix on Thursday to take on the Coyotes (28-23-11). The game starts at 9:00 and can be seen on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This the second and final game between the Habs and Coyotes this season. The Canadiens won the first game 3-1 at the Bell Centre on the strength of 3 third period goals. Max Pacioretty scored a pair and picked up an assist while David Desharnais pitched in with a pair of helpers.

What to Watch:

Thomas Vanek, he'll be in the lineup and making his first impression draped in the bleu-blanc-rouge on Habs fans, coaches and management alike. Vanek figures to be on one of the top two lines, either with Pacioretty and Desharnais, or as one of Plekanec's wingers. With 53 points split between the Sabres and Islanders, Vanek becomes the Habs' new points leader.

The Coyotes are coming off a 1-0 win over the Canucks on Tuesday, Antoine Vermette had the only goal of the match, a team best 22nd on the year. Mike Smith made 23 saves for his third shutout of the year and took home first star honors.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens have held their own halfway through a tough Western road trip, playing a pair of tight games against the Kings and Ducks, and coming out of them with 2 points to their credit. A win against the Coyotes on Thursday would guarantee the Habs 4 out of a possible 8 points during their toughest test of the season, with the Sharks still to come on Saturday.

Who's Out:

The Habs made it through trade season without sending any part of their locker room packing, but an extra couple of pieces joining the locker room will mean more healthy scratches. Meanwhile, Carey Price (lower body), Brandon Prust (upper body) and Michael Bournival (concussion) are still on injured reserve.

For the Coyotes Martin Hanzal (lower body) is listed as day-to-day.

What Else:

Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens came out of deadline day with a blockbuster deal to his credit, landing one of the biggest names on the market in Thomas Vanek. The Canadiens made a couple of other deadline deals, acquiring defenseman Mike Weaver, who was available for Wednesday's win over the Ducks but didn't dress, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who was assigned to Hamilton.

On the other side of Thursday's match up, the Coyotes brought Martin Erat on board in exchange for Rostislav Klesla.

The Question Mark:

We want to hear from you, where does Vanek fit into your lineup and what are you expecting to see from him for the remainder of the season?

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.


Odd, but wasn't Lars Eller a healthy scratch in Anaheim last night, or was he hurt? There was talk of him getting traded, but I'm glad he stayed. He's too young and talented to give up on at this point.

Think there's any chance of the EGG line getting back together? Pax / Deharnais / Vanek, Gionta / Pleky / ???, EGG, 4th line. Who do you think could fit in the best with Gionta and Pleky so the EGG line stays together? Think the Habs would do it? (Can you suggest it to them, please???). Thx!

I'd love to see Vanek-DD-Pac, Briere-Plek-Gio, EGG, that's a great 1-2-3 punch and you can sub out Moen for Briere in tight spots. Don't think it will happen, but oh the possibilities.

I'd like to see Vanek slot in with Lars Eller and Daniel Briere. Patches/DD/Gally does not get touched the way they are producing. Gionta/Plek/Chucky has been going well. Briere and Vanek have years together in Buffalo and playing with those two linemates after being a scratch should get maximum effort out of Eller. 4th line: Insert anyone but Parros.

Habs will go Nowhere with Plekanec and DD as their top 2 centers and you fans are delusional to think anything else..Also they have Nothing on defense after Subban and Markov.Trevor Timmins drafts have givenlittle over the years, and you will really find out how overrated he is when players like Beaulieu, Tinordi, ( turnover machine) Leblanc and McCarron fail to make it.

Anonymous, great anti-Timmins comment. As usual. But this time you forgot to follow it up with your 'Guy Smith' agreement.

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