The Canadiens (29-34-13) are back at home to face the Southeast leading Panthers (36-24-15) Tuesday night. The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS (HD) and TSN2.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the Habs and Panthers, Montreal is 0-3-0 in their previous three games. The Panthers have started three different goalies in each game so far, but Jose Theodore wasn’t able to earn the win for Florida in his start. He left the New Year’s Eve game in the second period with a lower body injury, but Scott Clemmensen was able to complete the victory in relief.
What to Watch:
If Andrei Markov dresses for Tuesday’s game, it will be his eighth game of the season, one more than he played last year. Markov has only picked up one assist and is -2 in his previous seven games, but he has stayed healthy.
Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss have been leading the Panthers’ offense and both have been hot recently. Both Fleischmann and Weiss have seven points in their last six games. Florida has also gotten decent offensive contributions from their defensemen this season, Brian Campbell is second overall in defensive scoring with 49 points (4g, 45a), while Jason Garrison, with 16 goals, is tied for second in goals scored.
What’s at Stake:
With Saturday’s loss to the Flyers, the Habs are officially out of playoff contention. On the other end of the spectrum the Panthers are holding a three point lead over the Capitals for top spot in the Southeast division. Every point counts for the Panthers who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Yannick Weber (knee), Brian Gionta (arm), Scott Gomez (concussion), Tomas Kaberle (upper body), Mathieu Darch (ear), Travis Moen (upper body) and Raphael Diaz (lower body) are out.
The Panthers are missing Jack Skille (shoulder), and Matt Bradley (concussion).
The Canadiens won’t be going to the postseason for a seventh time since winning the Stanley Cup in 1993. Since the birth of the NHL in 1917 up to the Habs had only missed the playoff eight times before the ’93 cup win. The Panthers entered the league the season after Montreal last won the Cup. If they can hold on to their position for the next two weeks, they’ll earn just their fourth playoff appearance in that span.
Be sure to tune into Montrealhockeytalk.com after the match for the Montreal Hockey Talk Post Game Show.