The Habs (0-1-0) are home to face the Panthers (1-0-0) Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The game starts at 7:30 and can be seen on RDS.
This is the first of three meetings between the Canadiens and the Panthers. Last season Florida took four of four games with the Canadiens only managing to earn one point from a shootout loss in the final meeting. Scott Clemmensen was in goal for three of the four victories, he has a perfect 6-0-0 record against the Habs.
What to Watch:
Collectively, the Canadiens seemed to have some rust to shake off after a long break from hockey. Carey Price was beaten on the first shot he faced Saturday and the top trio of Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty didn’t look very dangerous for much of the contest against the Leafs.
Alex Galchenyuk managed to hold his own in his NHL debut. The rookie was kept off the scoresheet but still managed to impress coach Therrien, who had this to say “I thought he looked good. He didn’t put himself in trouble. He skated well, tried to make some plays. We saw that he’s got the speed to play.”
Florida will have some familiar faces in the lineup on Tuesday. Ex-Habs Jose Theodore and Alex Kovalev led the Panthers to victory in their season opener on Saturday, Kovalev had a goal and two assists while Theodore came up with 32 saves. Saint Jerome native and potential rookie of the year contender Jonathan Huberdeau also looked good against Carolina Saturday, picking up a goal and two assists of his own.
What’s at Stake:
A waved-off goal in the opening minute of Saturday’s game notwithstanding, the Canadiens were slow out of the gate against the Leafs, but they did manage to pull themselves together in the third period. They’ll be looking for a better start Tuesday, and their first win of the season. With the Panthers playing on back-to-back nights the Habs will have a good chance to give their home fans something to cheer about.
Last year’s unexpected Southeast Division Champions will be trying to prove that their surprising success in 2011-2012 was no fluke. The Panthers earned an impressive 5-1 win over the Hurricanes in their opener but were shut out 4-0 in Ottawa on Monday. Florida will hope to bounce back against the Habs.
There’s been very little news about UFA holdout PK Subban, and for Habs fans, no news is bad news. With only 47 games left to play, GM Marc Bergevin will need to come to terms with the young star quickly to give Subban a chance to have an impact on the Habs’ season.
The Panthers are missing some key pieces. Kris Versteeg (groin), Sean Bergenheim (groin), Marcel Goc (leg) and Erik Gudbrandson (leg) all missed action Monday.
After finishing 2011-2012 with the second most shorthanded situations in the league, the Canadiens quickly found discipline to be a problem again this year. The Canadiens drew their first penalty just 46 seconds into the new season cancelling out what looked like their first goal. The Habs had five penalty kill attempts in Saturday’s game, they were only successful three times.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren.