Preview Game #58

Canadiens vs. Las Vegas

T-Mobile Arena – Feb. 17, 2018 – 7:10pm EST

Season Records – Canadiens – 57GP (22-28-7) 51pts. 14th in Eastern Conference – 26th in league. Vegas – 57GP (38-15-4) 80 points. First in Western Conference; Second in League.

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

Home/Away – Canadiens on the road (8-18-1) Vegas at home (21-4-2)

Lineup Changes

….Antti Niemi was named starter for the Canadiens.  Marc-Andrei Fleury for the Knights.

….Nicolas Deslauriers will take the pre-game skate and will be a gametime decision.


….Second of two scheduled meetings. @Bell Centre Nov. 7th Canadiens-3 Vegas-2. Gallagher, Benn, Pacioretty (GWG). Bellemare & Haula for Vegas. Lindgren vs. Lagace.

….Connections – Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant was a Canadiens assistant for two seasons (2014-16). Vegas selccted Alexei Emelin from the Canadiens in the expansion draft (subsequently traded to Nashville for 2019 5th round pick. Canadiens acquired David Schlemko from Vegas for a 2019 5th round pick.

….This game pits the team with the best home record in the NHL (Vegas 21-4-2) vs. the team with the NHL’s worst road record (Canadiens 8-18-1)

….Since the Canadiens edged Vegas Nov. 7th at the Bell Centre the Golden Knights are 29-10-3; the Canadiens 15-20-6.

….Career vs. the Canadiens James Neal leads the Knights in every category – goals (5) assists (8) – points-13.

….This will be Antti Niemis first career start vs. Vegas (Charlie Lindgren was in goal Nov. 7th.)

….Career vs. the Canadiens Marc-Andre Fleury is 21-12-3 with a 2.98GAA and .901 save% (all with Pittsburgh)

About the Canadiens

….The Ottawa Senators defeated the NY Rangers Saturday afternoon. If the Canadiens suffer a regulation loss in Las Vegas they will fall behind Ottawa to 27th in the overall league standings. The Canadiens are only two points away from 29th in the league (or third in the draft lottery).

…..The Canadiens have lost ten of their last eleven road games. They were limited to one goal or less in eight of the eleven games, including three times shut out.

….The Canadiens have lost 10 of 11 road games in regulation for the first time in a season since Jan. 27 – March 17 1940.

….Antii Niemi was in goal for the only Canadiens road win over the last eleven games.  (3-2 Jan. 19 @ Washington.  Niemi allowed 2 goals on 26 shots)

….As a member of the Canadiens Niemi has a 2-2-1 record in 7 appearances. His goals against average with the team is 2.40 and his save percentage .927.

….This is the first time Niemi has started in a non-back-to-back situation for the Canadiens.

…..Prior to being claimed off waivers Niemi had been in 5 games with Pittsburgh and Florida this season with an 0-4-0 record 6.74GAA and .822 save%.

….The Canadiens have failed to score in 23 of their last 32 periods on the road and have been outscored 35-13.

….Only Arizona (2.43) and Buffalo (2.40) have scored fewer goals per game than the Canadiens 2.53 per game.

….The Canadiens have shutout eight times this season – tied with Ottawa for most in the NHL.

….Canadiens have scored one goal or fewer an NHL worst 20 times this season.

….Brendan Gallagher has scored three goals his last four games to give him a team-leading 21, three short of his career high 24 set in 2014-15.

….Max Pacioretty has failed to register a shot on goal his last two games and attempted only three shots (one blocked, two missed). Pacioretty’s current drought is now 8 games during which he’s recorded 3 assists).

….Pacioretty has 152 even strength goals over the last six seasons. Only Alex Ovechkin has more at 167.

….Paul Byron has failed to score in eleven games (3 assists).

….Since Shea Weber went on injury reserve Nov. 22nd the Canadiens have won only 4 of 16 road games.

….According to Canadiens chances of reaching the playoffs are down to 0.1%.

About the Golden Knights

….This is the fourth of a seven game home-stand for the Knights. After losing to Philadelphia to start the home stand they have come back with wins over (Chicago (5-2) and Edmonton (4-1)

….Vegas needs one home win to tie the expansion record of 22 set by the 1979-80 Hartford Whalers.

….Vegas has the best home record in the league at 21-4-2.

….Vegas leads the Western Conference with 80 points and carry a ten point lead over San Jose in the Pacific Division.

….The Knights have the second best offense in the league scoring 3.40 goals per game. They rank 8th in goals against at 2.68 per game.

….Vegas has a 23-3-0 record when they score the first goal of the game. That .885 win percentage when scoring first leads the league.

….William Karlsson scored his 30th goal of the season Thursday vs. Edmonton. His previous career high was nine, set two years ago in 81 games with Columbus.

….Karlsson’s 30 goals ranks fourth in the league. He leads the league in +/- with a plus 2 rating.

….Jonathan Marchessault leads Vegas with 55 points. His previous career high 51 points with Florida last season.

….The Knights have four on their roster with 20 or more goals; Karlsson (30), James Neal (24), Erik Haula (22) and Marchessault (21). Tampa Bay is the only other team with four 20-goal scorers.

….James Neal has posted 20 or more goals for the 10th consecutive season. He’s one of five active players to score 20 in his first 10 seasons joining Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Thomas Vanek.

Goaltending –

….Antti Niemi has appeared in 12 games this season with a 2-6-1 record; 3.92GAA and .887 save%/  This will be his 7th appearance with the Canadiens and 5th start.

….Marc-Andre Fleury is 18-6-2 for the season with a 2.03 GAA and .933 save%

Special Teams Power Play – Canadiens ranked 11th (37/173) 21.1% Vegas ranks 10th (38/180) 21.1%. Penalty Killing – Canadiens rank 25th (40/179) 77.2%. Vegas ranks 14th (30/164) 81.7%

Projected Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 54-Charles Hudon 62-Artturi Lehkonen

27-Alex Galchenyuk 92-Jonathan Drouin 38-Nikita Scherbak

41-Paul Byron 14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

43-Daniel Carr 25-Jacob de la Rose 49-Logan Shaw

22-Karl Alzner 26-Jeff Petry

45-Joe Morrow 8-Jamie Benn

53-Victor Mete 21-David Schlemko

31-Carey Price

Healthy Scratch–C Byron Froese; LW Nicolas Deslauriers; D Jakub Jerabek;

Injuries – C Andrew Shaw (lower body); C Phillip Danault (concussion); D Shea Weber (foot); RW Ales Hemsky (IR concussion)


Vegas Line Combinations & Pairings

19-Reilly Smith 71-William Karlsson 81-Jonathan Marchessault

57-David Perron 56-Erik Haula 18-James Neal

24-Oscar Lindberg 21-Cody Eakin 89-Alex Tuch

92-Tomas Nosek 41-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 40-Ryan Carpenter

3-Brayden McNabb 88-Nate Schmidt

5 Deryk Engelland 47-Luca Sbiza

6-Colin Miller 77-Brad Hunt

29-Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries – G Malcolm Subban (IR upper body); LW William Carrier (IR upper body); D Luca Sbisa (IR hand surgery); D Jon Merrill (IR lower body); D Clayton Stoner (IR abdominal)

Healthy Scratches – LW-Brendan Leipsic;