TALE OF THE TAPE:
Game: Edmonton Oilers (21-26-5) at Montreal Canadiens (24-24-4)
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
Time: Noon MT
Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet – Radio: 630 CHED
Edmonton Oilers Preview:
It’s Hockey Day in Canada! With a weird noon start time, the Oilers look to down the struggling Montreal Canadiens. Without Carey Price, former Oiler Ben Scrivens gets the start for the Habs.
What is there to say? Montreal has been the worst team in the league since the beginning of December, and the Oilers have a chance to get a big two points.
Today’s big story line follows Zack Kassian, who makes his return back to Montreal for the first time since the team traded him to Edmonton. Since he has joined the Oilers, I have been very impressed with what he has brought to the table and is playing his role in the bottom six very well.
Kassian’s off-ice issues are well known, and it appears he has put that all behind him. One would have to imagine that after not being given a shot to dress in Montreal, he will be coming in fired up to play tonight.
Given the success the team has had in it’s last two games outscoring opponents 12 – 3, why change anything? The Oilers are currently running four very effective lines.
Predictions for tonight:
- Kassian gets a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
- Cam Talbot gets a shutout. (Carry over prediction, but I am feeling one soon here)
- Adam Clendening hits somebody for the second game in a row.
Scrivens will start against his former team. He is 0-4-0 with a 3.85 goals-against-average and .873 save percentage in four games with Montreal, which has lost 21 of 26 games since starting 19-4-3. The Canadiens’ fortunes turned on their loss in Edmonton, when Hart and Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Carey Price sustained the initial lower-body injury that has ultimately sidelined him for all but three games since. Price, who has not played since he re-injured himself on Nov. 25, has been skating without goalie equipment daily for several weeks. On Friday, he worked on lateral movement in the crease for the first time while wearing a goalie glove and holding a goalie stick with his blocker. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien did not have any update to offer on Price’s progress after practice. “When he’s going to come to the next stage of his rehab, I will let you know and I will be more than happy to let you know,” Therrien said. “But right now, it’s about the same.” – nhl.com
Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:
Oilers (Cam Talbot):
Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot – Connor McDavid – Jordan Eberle
Zack Kassian – Mark Letestu – Nail Yakupov
Lauri Korpikoski – Matt Hendricks – Iiro Pakarinen
Andrej Sekera – Mark Fayne
Darnell Nurse – Adam Clendening
Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba
Montreal Canadiens (Ben Scrivens):
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Tomas Flesichmann – Lars Eller – Sven Andrighetto
Brian Flynn – Torrey Mitchell – Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexi Emelin – Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio – Tom GIlbert
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