GAME PREVIEW | Canadiens – Panthers: Habs Look to Get Back on Track

Game Preview by Sam Gerber
Last game : MTL 4  TBL 5  F   The Habs came out flying, getting an early two-goal lead and putting up 20 shots in the first period. But for the 14th time this season the Habs gave up a goal late in a period. With the momentum, the Bolts scored three goals in the second period. Poor execution and weak defensive play sunk the Habs.

For a complete game recap: Habs Can’t Maintain Start

Players to watch

  • Max Domi
    Domi has found his scoring touch with goals in four straight games. But it is a bit of Jekyll and Hyde as Domi has been atrocious on the defensive side of the game. 
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi
    Kotkaniemi played well, scoring in his first game back from injury. If he can keep it up the Habs will have improved depth.
  • Ben Chiarot
    The Canadiens defence was terrible against Tampa Bay but Chiarot and Shea Weber were the best of a bad lot. Chariot is seven points away from his career high and has been a big physical presence.   

Keys to Victory

  • Minimize giveaways
    The Habs turnovers allowed Tampa back in the game. The Canadiens can’t compound problems once the turnover has been made.
  • Play to the end of periods
    The Habs cant afford to give up late period goals. It has cost them a number of games and points in the standings.
  • Keep the pace
    The Habs need to keep the energy up all game long, even when up by a goal or two. A let down allowed the Lightning to come back in Saturday’s game.
Statistical Matchup by All Habs
BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL | December 29, 7:00 PM ET | TV: SN, RDS, FS-F

2019-20 statistics

PANTHERS CANADIENS
43 (17th) Points (rank) 42 (22nd)
19-13-5 Record 18-14-6
12-7-2 Home/Away 10-6-3
6-4-0 Last 10 6-4-0
3.49 GF/G 3.24
3.30 GA/G 3.18
24.4 PP% 23.2
79.7 PK% 75.4
49.58  CF% 54.18
Pre-game quotes
Jeff Petry

  • “What we were doing really well in that last stretch was playing good defense and that kind of slipped away from us (against Tampa Bay).”
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders by All Habs
Forwards
Huberdeau – Barkov – Dadonov
Connolly – Trocheck – Acciari
Vatrano – Boyle – Hoffman
Sceviour – Toninato – Hawryluk
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Domi – Suzuki
Cousins – Kotkaniemi – Weal
Poehling – Thompson – Barber
Defensemen
Yandle – Pysyk
Stillman – Stralman
Matheson – Brown
Chiarot – Weber
Kulak – Petry
Mete – Fleury
Out of the lineup
Scratched: Malgin 
Injured: Weegar, Ekblad
Scratched: Vejdemo, Folin, Reilly
Injured: Drouin, Byron, Peca, Armia
Goalies
Sergei Bobrovsky  Carey Price
Record: 13-10-4
GAA: – 3.20
Sv%: – .899
SO: 1
Alternate: Chris Driedger
Record: 16-12-3
GAA: – 2.93
Sv%: – .904
SO: 1
Alternate: Charlie Lindgren
 What to Expect by Sam Gerber
A disappointing loss needs to be followed up by a statement win. Both teams played last night so they will be no excuses. Goaltending should be a big part of this game. The two teams have very similar special teams statistics.
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