The Montreal Canadiens look to bounce back from an uninspiring effort on Saturday night, as they host the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Bell Centre.
Montreal lost 2-1 to the Nashville Predators, and seemed to be spinning their wheels offensively all night, as they were outshot 37-29 by the usually offensively inept Predators.
Brendan Gallagher was the only goal scorer on the night for the Habs, as he jammed home a Lars Eller rebound, that was also assisted by rookie Michael Bournival, who was rewarded with his first even assist as an NHLer.
This will be the second game between the two teams already this season, after not playing at all last season. The Canadiens walked away from Rexall Place in Edmonton with a 4-1 victory just 12 days ago. The Habs youngsters proved to be too much for the Oilers defense, as Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and P.K. Subban combined for seven points in the win.
Unfortunately for the Canadiens, injuries continue to mount on the team, as Daniel Briere and Brandon Prust both left the game Saturday night and won’t play tonight. Prust is slated to miss a month, while Briere is only scheduled to miss about a week.
Combined with the fact Max Pacioretty is out with a hamstring injury, Alexei Emelin, Davis Drewiske and Douglas Murray are all yet to play a game, and George Parros is still out of the lineup, the Canadiens depth will be tested tonight.
The Oilers enter the game battling several injuries as well. All star winger Taylor Hall is injured for the next four weeks with a knee injury, and Sam Gagner is yet to play due to a broken jaw suffered in the pre season. Ryan Smyth will also miss tonight’s contest, and Jordan Eberle is a game time decision.
Canadiens Forward Lines
Galchenyuk – Eller – Gallagher
Bournival – Plekanec – Gionta
Moen – Desharnais – Bourque
Holland – White – Blunden
Canadiens Defense Pairings
Beaulieu – Subban
Markov – Diaz
Gorges – Bouillon
Canadiens Starting Goaltender
Michael Bournival gets a great opportunity as his tenacious play has earned him a promotion to the team’s second line with veterans Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. He has points in back to back games, and has a chance to add to his offensive totals with an expanded offensive role tonight.
Patrick Holland and Michael Blunden make their season debuts tonight, and it will be the first game in the career of Holland. He was brought to Montreal in the trade that sent Michael Cammalleri to Calgary, and has been one of the best forwards on the Hamilton Bulldogs roster since making his professional debut over a year ago.
Nathan Beaulieu returns to the lineup tonight and will be paired with Subban, on what immediately becomes one of the fastest defense pairing in the league.
Game time is 7:30 PM EST at the Bell Centre.