Preview Game #35

Canadiens vs. Edmonton

Rogers Place– Dec. 23, 2017 – 7:10pm EST

Season Records – Canadiens – 35GP (16-15-4) 36pts. Fourth in Atlantic Division. Edmonton 35GP (16-17-2) 34pts. Seventh in Pacific Division

Last Ten Games – Canadiens (6-3-1) Edmonton (6-4-0)

Home/Away – Canadiens on the road (7-8-1) Edmonton at home (7-10-0)

Lineup Changes

….Antti Niemi will start in goal for the Canadiens vs. Cam Talbot.

….Jakub Jerabek out, Brett Lernout will be paired with Joe Morrow.  Otherwise same lineup as Friday in Calgary.


….This is the second of two meetings. @Bell Centre Dec. 9th – Edmonton-6 Canadiens-2. Khaira two goals for Edmonton. Danault & Galchenyuk scored for the Canadiens.Price gave up 4 goals on 14 shots; replaced by Niemi.

….Since the Canadiens defeated Edmonton 5-4 in overtime at the Commonwealth Stadium-Heritage Classic Nov. 22nd 2003 the Canadiens have won three of eleven in Edmonton (3-7-1).

….Over the last 17 seasons dating back to Dec. 30, 2000, Edmonton has a 17-6-3 overall record vs. the Canadiens.

….Since March 8, 2012 Carey Price has started in only four of the ten games vs. the Oilers. Tokarski (2), Budaj (2) Scrivens and Montoya started the others.

….In nine overall meetings since the lockout the Canadiens have a 3-4-2 record vs. Edmonton. At Edmonton they are 2-2-0.

….Since the 2012 lockout, Brendan Gallagher has scored 4 goals and 3 assists in eight games vs. his hometown team. Alex Galchenyuk has 4 goals, 3 assists in nine games vs. Edmonton. Max Pacioretty with 4 goals 0 assists in 8 games and Tomas Plekanec 2 goals, 6 assists in 8 games.

….The leading Edmonton scorer against the Canadiens since 2012 is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with 2 goals 6 assists in eight games.

….Connor McDavid has 0 goals and 4 assists in 5 career games vs. the Canadiens.

….Antti Niemi has had great career success vs. the Oilers. In 19GP he is 12-2-3 with a 2.61GAA and .904 save%.

….Cam Talbot has started six career games vs. the Canadiens with a 3-2-1 record 2 shutouts and a 1.73GAA and .935 save%.

….Price has a career record of 2-7-1 with a 3.73 GAA and .859 save% in ten career Edmonton starts. Both his GAA and sv% are his worst vs. any NHL team.

About the Canadiens

….This is the busiest day of the 2017-2018 season. Thirty teams will see action. Only Calgary, who lost to the Canadiens Friday night, is idle.

…..The Canadiens hope to go to the Christmas break on a three game winning streak.  Their up-and-down season has included the early seven game losing streak, then a three game win streak, followed by a five game losing streak and then the five game win streak.

….This is the Canadiens final game before the Christmas schedule break. They have a record of 4-7-1 since 2002 in their final game before Christmas Day. Between 2002 and 2008 they lost six in a row. In the last six years they are 5-2-0. Twelve of those thirteen games have been on the road as part of the team’s annual long holiday road trip.

….From the defense that took the ice exactly a year ago at Columbus, only Jeff Petry remains. For the game on Dec. 23 2016 the defense was made up of Petry, Shea Weber, Nathan Beaulieu, Mark Barberio, Zach Redmond and Joel Hanley.   At the time Markov, Emelin and Pateryn were out with injuries. Twelve months later seven of the nine have moved on for various reasons, and with Weber out with his foot injury it leaves only Petry for this game.

….The Canadiens have at least a point in ten of their last 13 games (8-3-2). Over that stretch they have outscored opponents 45-32

….A win in Edmonton would put the Canadiens two games over .500 for the first time this season. They have been one game over .500 only three times this season including the season opener.

….The Canadiens have a chance to sweep the three Western Canada games for the first time since 1998-1999. In 15 previous years in which they played the three games this is only the second time since 1999 they have gone to the third game with a chance of a sweep. On Dec 2nd 2000 they played Calgary to a 1-1 tie after beating Edmonton & Vancouver.

….Alex Galchenyuk has 12 points over his last 12 games – 4 goals, 8 assists. He has a point in four of his last five games.

….The entire Drouin/Pacioretty/Byron line is mired in slumps of varying duration. Pacioretty has one goal in his last 17 games ; Drouin has two goals in his last 14 and Byron has one goal his last seven.

…..The Froese/Carr/Deslauriers line has been together for eight games during which they have scored 8 goals and 23 points. Froese came to the Canadiens as a off season free agent two-way contract signing; Carr signed as an undrafted free agent out of Union College; Deslauriers was acquired from Buffalo in an Oct. 4th trade for defenseman Zach Redmond.

….As a member of the Canadiens Antti Niemi has appeared in three games since he was claimed off waivers from Florida Nov. 14th. In his only start at Nashville Nov. 22nd he allowed 2 goals on 33 shots in an overtime loss. His other two appearances were in support of a faltering Carey Price. In his 3 Montreal appearances he’s allowed 5 goals on 63 shots for a .921 save% and a 2.67GAA.

….As a 26 year old rookie Niemi led the Chicago Black Hawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup. Since the 2009-10 season Niemi ranks 5th in total victories among goaltenders with 227.

….This is the second half of the sixth set of Canadiens back to back games. The Canadiens are looking for their third sweep of the season. In the second half their record is 2-2-1.

About the Oilers

….The Oilers have won three in a row for the first time this season and are 6-3-0 in December, allowing them to climb to within a win of .500 for the season.

….If the Oilers can beat the Canadiens in this game they will reach .500 for the first time since their season’s second game.

….Since the Oilers beat the Canadiens Dec. 9th, they have won 4 of 6 games. Their wins have come against Columbus, Minnesota, San Jose and St. Louis.

….Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 13 goals, 28 assists for 41 points in 35 games. McDavid is looking to become the first repeat scoring champion since Jaromir Jagr in 2001. He currently trails Nikita Kucherov by nine points.

….Over his last five games McDavid has two goals, four assists.

….McDavid has failed to register a point in only eight of 35 games this season. He has ten multiple point games including 5 two-point, 4 three-point and 1 four-point game.

….Leon Draisaitl has 1 goal, 6 assists in his last eight games.

….Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has points in four of his last five games (3g,2a) and six of his last eight (5g, 3a). Nugent Hopkins leads the Oilers with 14 goals.

….Cam Talbot started the season with a 7-10-1 record with a .900 save% and 3.19 GAA. In his last six starts he is 6-0-0 with a .922 save% and 2.14GAA.

….Defenseman Andrej Sekera played his first game of the season in the 2-1 win over St. Louis. Sekera suffered a torn ACL during last year’s playoffs and underwent surgery in May. Last season in 80 games he had eight goals and 35 points.

….Like the Canadiens, the Oilers have only two players with double digit goal totals – Nugent-Hopkins with 14 and McDavid -13.

….Edmonton’s special teams are minus-14. Their power play ranks 26th in the league and their penalty killing 30th.

….The Oilers have a 9-3-1 record when they score first but they have scored first only 13 times of their 35 games this season, fewest in the league

Goaltending –

….Canadiens – Antti Niemi will make his second start for the Canadiens . This season his record is 0-4-1 in 8 appearances , a 5.20 GAA and .856 save%.

….Oilers – Cam Talbot will make his 26th appearance of the season. He is 13-10-1 with 1 shutout , a 2.92 and a .905save%.

Special TeamsPower Play – Canadiens rank 18th (20/109) 18.3%. Edmonton ranks 26th (16/98) 16.3% Penalty Killing – Canadiens rank 26th (26/115) 77.4%. Edmonton ranks 30th (30/112) 73.2%.

Projected Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 92-Jonathan Drouin 41-Paul Byron

27-Alex Galchenyuk 24-Phillip Danault 65-Andrew Shaw

62-Artturi Lehkonen 14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

41-Daniel Carr   41-Byron Froese   20-Nicolas Deslauriers-

22-Karl Alzner 26-Jeff Petry

8 Jordie Benn 21-David Schlemko

36-Brett Lernout   45-Joe Morrow

37-Antti Niemi

Healthy Scratch– C Jacob de la Rose; D Jakub Jerabek; LW Charles Hudon

Injuries – D Shea Weber (foot); G Al Montoya (IR concussion); RW Ales Hemsky (IR concussion);

Edmonton Forward Lines & Pairings

27-Milan Lucic 97-Connor McDavid 98-Jesse Puljujarvi

19-Patrick Maroon 93-Ryan Nugent Hopkins 91-Drake Caggiula

16-Jujhar Khaira 29-Leon Draisaitl 18-Ryan Strome

58-Anton Slepyshev 55-Mark Letestu 44-Zack Kassian

88-Brandon Davidson 6-Adam Larsson

25-Darnell Nurse 4-Kris Russell

2-Andrej Sekera 83-Matt Benning

33-Cam Talbot

Injuries – D Oscar Klefbom (IR upper body);

Healthy Scratches – LW Anton Slepyshev; D Eric Gryba; D Anton Auvitu