Game Preview by Sam Gerber, Staff Writer
Last game: NYR 2 MTL 0

In my opinion, it was a series of unfortunate bounces and calls by the officials that led to 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Two goals by the Canadiens (Andrew Shaw and Shea Weber) were called back. The Habs had momentum until a deflection off Weber’s skate found the Montreal net.

The Rangers took it to the Habs for most of the remainder of the game with the visiting team unable to crack Henrik Lundqvist.

For a complete recap: Canadiens – Rangers: Habs Shut Out at MSG

Players to watch

  • Patrick Kane
    Kane is one of the most talented players in the NHL. With six points in his first three games, Kane is again off to a hot start. Kane has averaged a point per game against the Habs in his career. Dangerous on and off the puck, the Habs are going to be challenged to stop him.
  • Andrew Shaw
    Shaw will be playing his former team once again, something Shaw looks forward to every year. Winning two Stanley Cups with Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, Shaw was a key piece for their championships. Shaw will look to be a game-changer against his old teammates.
  • Alex DeBrincat
    Alex Debrincat was selected by the Blackhawks in the 2016 draft, taken with the Canadiens second round pick. He also is one of eight players drafted in 2016 outside of the top 10 to play in the NHL. 127 points was the number Debrincat put up in his final season in Erie. One point in three games is a start to a promising career for the young forward. The Blackhawks likely have a steal with Debrincat.
  • Shea Weber
    When Weber was traded to Montreal, Chicago is the team that celebrated, often finding themselves in playoff matchups against the Predators. Tonight Weber will look to remind Hawks players how difficult he is to play against.
  • Ales Hemsky
    Hemsky returns to the line up for Montreal tonight after sitting out one game. With two penalties in each game this season, the Habs coaching staff was not happy. If Hemsky starts moving his feet more and plays with the puck, he will have a chance to show off his offensive talent. He could be on a short leash tonight.

Keys to Victory

  • Keep the pace
    The Habs will want to play a high tempo, assertive game not sitting back playing against a very good Blackhawks team.  
  • No mistakes
    The Canadiens rely on Carey Price to bail them out on mistakes but the Blackhawks are known as finishers and will capitalize.
  • Play with heart
    Being the home opener. the Bell Centre will be filled with emotion. The Canadiens can feed on that energy to get back on track.
Matchup 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC. | October 10, 7:30 PM ET | TV: NBCSN, TSN2, RDS, NBCSCH

2016-17 statistics

BLACKHAWKS CANADIENS
109 (3rd) Points (NHL rank) 103 (7th)
50-23-9 Record 47-26-9
26-10-5 Home 24-12-5
24-13-4 Away 23-14-4
3-3-4 Last 10 6-3-1
2.93 GF/G 2.72
2.59 GA/G 2.41
18.0 PP% 19.7
77.7 PK% 81.1
 50.45  CF%  52.54
55.64 CF/60  58.77
54.65 CA/60 53.09
Advanced statistics at 5-on-5  
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders
Forwards
Saad – Toews – Panik
Hartman – Anisimov – Kane
Sharp – Kero – Debrincat
Bouma – Wingels – Hayden
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – Mitchell – Hemsky 
Expected scratches: De La Rose
Defensemen
Keith – Seabrook
Kempny – Murphy
Forsling – Rutta
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Davidson – Benn
Expected scratches: Morrow, Streit
Goalies
Corey Crawford (Confirmed) Carey Price  (Confirmed)
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 32-18-4
GAA: 2.55
Sv%: .918
SO: 2
Alternate: Anton Forsberg
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 37-20-5
GAA: 2.23
Sv%: .923
SO: 3
Alternate: Al Montoya
 What to Expect
The Canadiens have something to prove tonight in front of their home fans after a disappointing start to the season on the road. It is important that the Habs give their fans something to cheer about early in the game.

Prediction

If the Canadiens use fan momentum to start well, I see them rolling to a 4-2 victory. If things don’t go as planned Blackhawks, who have outscored Montreal 18-3 in the first three games, could leave with a lopsided win.

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  • Bay_Bye

    Shaw was not a major part of Chicago winning the cup..Weber has been atrocious so far this season and has slowed down considerably. Hemsky is totally useless and should be in AHL….

    • Shotgun Charlie

      Should have kept Subban. Stupid trade

      • Bay_Bye

        I agree but Weber has not brought what we were led to believe he would and in my opinion he is slowing down