Game Preview by Sam Gerber, Staff Writer
Last game: CHI 3 MTL 1

Montreal got off to a hot start against the Blackhawks with a goal from Tomas Plekanec, outplaying their opposition for a good part of the first period. Before the opening frame was over, Chicago potted two quick goals costing the Habs the game. In the second period, the Blackhawks tacked on a power-play goal with a tic-tac-toe play. The Canadiens outshot the Hawks 42-25 but couldn’t capitalize on their scoring chances with  Corey Crawford standing tall for the win.

For a complete recap: Blackhawks – Canadiens: Habs Fall Flat in Home Opener

Players to watch

  • Auston Matthews
    Matthews is one the league’s most talented players. He is always a danger to score and is reliable in his own end. His vision is highly underrated with an ability to find an open man. The Habs will have to get in his face to put him off his game tonight.
  • Alex Galchenyuk
    Galchenyuk has been in the media spotlight for most of the season. Galchenyuk was placed on the fourth line at practice. Given his position in the lineup, Galchenyuk will need to make his ice time count. Suffering from the flu, he will be a game-time decision. 
  • Morgan Rielly
    Rielly was drafted two picks after Galchenyuk in the 2012 draft.. Rielly is a puck-moving defenceman and is the leader for the Leafs on the blueline. It was no secret during the draft that Marc Bergevin wanted Reilly but Galchenyuk was too hard to pass up. 
  • Mitch Marner
    Marner is the former teammate of Victor Mete in London. Marner believes Mete is an NHL defenceman and states he will only get better once he’s comfortable. It will be fun to watch them go at one another tonight.
  • Max Pacioretty
    As captain of the Canadiens, Pacioretty needs to lead this team. Expect this to be a statement game for him.

Keys to Victory

  • Slow it down
    The Leafs are one of the most offensive teams in the league and they are constantly attacking. The Habs will need to slow down their opposition by plugging the neutral zone to force turnovers and interrupt zone entries.
  • Puck out
    If the puck spends too much time in the Habs zone, they will be in trouble. The Leafs forecheck is relentless and leads to scoring chances. 
  • Forecheck
    The Habs need to force the skilled Leafs forwards to play in their defensive end and to keep the pressure on them. Doing so will result in breakdowns that the Habs can capitalize on.
Matchup 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC. | October 14, 7:00 PM ET | TV: CBC, TVA, NHLN

2016-17 statistics

MAPLE LEAFS CANADIENS
95 (14th) Points (NHL rank) 103 (7th)
40-27-15 Record 47-26-9
21-13-7 Home 24-12-5
19-14-8 Away 23-14-4
6-4-0 Last 10 6-3-1
3.05 GF/G 2.72
2.85 GA/G 2.41
23.8 PP% 19.7
82.5 PK% 81.1
 50.38  CF%  52.54
59.52 CF/60  58.77
52.22 CA/60 53.09
Advanced statistics at 5-on-5  
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders
Forwards
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Van-Riemsdyk – Bozak – Marner
Marleau – Kadri – Komarov
Martin – Fehr – Brown
Pacioretty – Drouin – Lehkonen
Byron – De La Rose – Gallagher
Hudon – Danault – Shaw
Galchenyuk – Mitchell – Hemsky 
GTD (flu): Galchenyuk, Plekanec
Defensemen
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Zaitsev
Borgman – Carrick
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Davidson
Expected scratches: Morrow, Schlemko
Goalies
Frederik Andersen (Confirmed) Carey Price  (Confirmed)
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 33-16-14
GAA: 2.67
Sv%: .918
SO: 4
Alternate: Curtis McElhinney
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 37-20-5
GAA: 2.23
Sv%: .923
SO: 3
Alternate: Al Montoya
 What to Expect
This game has the chance of being high scoring, if the Habs can keep up. It is no secret the Leafs can score and have all the momentum to beat the Habs tonight, something they haven’t done in 14 games.

Prediction

The last few games between these two teams have been decided by a goal. It will be the team with consistency at both ends of the ice that will get that goal tonight.

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