Top News

Chicago Blackhawks at Canadiens: Five things you should know

 Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price makes a glove save during second period against the Calgary Flames in Montreal on Jan. 13, 2020.
Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price makes a glove save during second period against the Calgary Flames in Montreal on Jan. 13, 2020.

Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Blackhawks game at the Bell Centre on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

The matchup: This is the first of two meetings between these Original Six teams struggling to make the playoffs. The Canadiens broke out of an eight-game losing streak with two wins and are seven points out of a playoff spot, while Chicago was five points back in the Western Conference after beating Ottawa in overtime Tuesday night. This is part of a back-to-back situation for each team, but the Canadiens will be playing Game 1 — they are in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Price leads the way: Goaltender Carey Price has been the major reason the Canadiens are on their modest two-game win streak and nobody should be surprised if head coach Claude Julien starts him in this game and in Philadelphia. The decision to use him in both games is easier because the Canadians get a full week off after playing Vegas at the Bell Centre on Saturday. He made 41 saves in Ottawa Saturday to backstop a 2-1 overtime win and made 31 saves Monday in a 2-0 win over Calgary. With the two wins, Price’s overall numbers went from terrible to respectable. He has an 18-16-4 record, a 2.87 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.

Offence needs a boost: While the Canadiens are playing better defensively, the offence has dried up. The Canadiens have scored 15 goals during their last eight games and have scored more than two goals only once in that stretch. Since losing Jonathan Drouin on Nov. 15, the offence has dipped from sixth to 14 th in the NHL and the power play has gone from sixth to 10 th . Tomas Tatar is the team leader in goals (16) and points (39) but he has gone eight games without a goal.

Medical updates: When Drouin injured his wrist, he was expected to be out for 4-6 weeks. It’s now almost two months and he won’t return until after the bye week and the all-star break. Joel Armia has had a quicker recovery from a hand injury. He has been cleared for action and hopes to play at least one game before the break. Brendan Gallagher continues to rest and, while the Canadiens are reluctant to use the c-word, it’s apparent he’s dealing with post-concussion syndrome. Speaking of concussions, former Canadien Andrew Shaw suffered yet another one and has been out of the Chicago lineup since Dec. 1.

The other guys: Patrick Kane is ninth in the NHL scoring race, with 59 points, including a team-high 24 goals. Dominik Kubalik, a 24-year-old rookie from the Czech Republic by way of the Swiss League, has 18 goals after scoring two Tuesday night, Jonathan Toews has 12, while Alex DeBrincat and the injured Brandon Saad each have 11. The Blackhawks have used a two-goalie system with Châteauguay native Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner sharing the work. Lehner has been more effective and the 35-year-old Crawford, who is in line to be a free agent on July 1, will be available at the trade deadline.

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

Related

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

Recent Stories