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ryan johansen

Michel Therrien decided to let the line blender run wild after Alexei Emelin was ejected from the game, as it tokk a late power play goal by Max Pacioretty to win the game 2-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Join Corey Collard, along with Coach K, Kristina Ashqar and Steve Farnham as they break down all the night’s action.


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#MTLHockey Preview

montreal canadiens vs columbus blue jackets nhlMatch Up

The Canadiens (26-12-3) are in Columbus Wednesday night to face the Blue Jackets (18-19-3). The game is set to start at 7:00 and airs on RDS and Sportsnet.

This is the first of three meetings between the Habs and Jackets, and the first of two in Columbus. Last season the Canadiens won two of their three games against the Blue Jackets, including a 3-2 shootout victory in Columbus. The Habs erased a two-goal deficit and David Desharnais scored the only goal in the shootout to seal the victory.

What to Watch

It looks like the Canadiens will try a new look on the man advantage in Columbus, as coach Michel Therrien looks to spark the fourth worst power play in the league. In their last seven games, the Habs have scored just once in 21 opportunities.

Look for PK Subban to play the point on the first unit with Desharnais, P.A. Parenteau, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher up front, while the second unit should consist of Andrei Markov, Sergei Gonchar, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk.

Injuries have taken their toll on the Blue Jackets this season, but Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen have managed to stay healthy and lead the way this year. Foligno has 40 points in 39 games including 10 points in his last seven. Johansen is right behind him for the team lead with 39 points on the year, he’s in the midst of a 10-game point streak.

What’s at Stake

Although they earned a point Saturday night against the Penguins, the Habs lost their second consecutive game for the first time since the first week of December. The losing streak hasn’t hurt the Canadiens too badly yet, they’re still the top team in the Atlantic in terms of point percentage, but they still trail the Lightning by three points heading into Wednesday’s action.

Who’s Out

With Parenteau set to return, the Habs are healthy again. The only other change to the lineup could be on defense, where Mike Weaver might play Wednesday in place of the struggling Alexei Emelin.

The Blue Jackets have been without Nathan Horton (back) all season. Ryan Murray (knee) has also missed most of the year, but he has started to practice again. Artem Anisimov (triceps), Brian Gibbons (knee), Boone Jenner (back) and Jack Skille (lower body) are also out.

What Else

In just over a week, Columbus will play host to this year’s NHL All -Star Game. Only Carey Price was named to the All-Star team from the Canadiens, although Jiri Sekac was selected to take part in the rookie skills competition, filling in for an injured Tanner Pearson. Despite an impressive first half of the season, PK Subban was not named an All-Star this year, although there is a chance he’ll be called to fill in for the injured Victor Hedman.

The Question Mark

We want to hear from you, express your outrage at the fact that PK wasn’t selected as an All-Star this season.

Tonight’s Show

Join host Steven Hindle along with Kosta Papoulias and Rob Elbaz for the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show as we go live at 6:00 to preview the Canadiens and the Blue Jackets.

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montreal canadiens vs columbus blue jackets nhlMatch Up:

The Canadiens (38-25-7) are home to host the Blue Jackets (35-27-6) Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The game starts at 7:30 and can be seen on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This is the third and final meeting between the Habs and Blue Jackets with the Canadiens aiming for the season sweep. The Habs have won a pair of close games. In their 5-3 win in Montreal, Plekanec’s game winner came with just over a minute left in the game. When these teams played in Columbus, the Habs earned a 3-2 shootout win, David Desharnais had the only penalty shot goal.

What to Watch:

Thomas Vanek scored his first goal as a Canadien Tuesday night, and then his second, and then his third. The hat trick was the 8th of Vanek’s career, he had 4 3-goal games in 2007-2008 alone. The fourth line of Travis Moen, Dale Weise and Brandon Prust have combined for 4 goals over the past 2 games for the Habs, they played an integral role in the 6-3 win over the Avalanche on Tuesday

Despite directing 47 shots at Anton Khudobin, the Blue Jackets lost 3-1 to the Hurricanes on Tuesday, scoring their first goal with less than a minute left in the game. Former Hab James Wisniewski had 6 shots on goal Tuesday, bringing him up to 140 on the year, 6 shy of his career high for a season. With 26 goals and 51 points, 21-year old Ryan Johansen leads the BJs in scoring.

What’s at Stake:

The Lightning’s 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs draws the Bolts even with the Habs at 83 points and leaves the Leafs a step behind at 80 points with two more games played than Tampa and one more than the Canadiens. The race in the Atlantic division is strictly for second place, the Bruins have a 16 point cushion with the season winding down.

After missing out on the playoffs last year by virtue of a lost tiebreaker to the Minnesota Wild (both teams finished with 55 points but the Wild had 3 more regulation or overtime wins), the Blue Jackets once again find themselves tied for the final playoff spot with the end of the season looming. The team is looking for just their second playoff berth in franchise history, as well as their first postseason victory, they were swept by the Red Wings in their first trip to the playoffs.

Who’s Out:

Michael Bournival (concussion) is healthy enough to play but has been sent to Hamilton on a reconditioning assignment. Josh Gorges is still out with a broken hand.

The Blue Jackets are missing rookie defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body).

What Else:

For the second straight game, the Habs welcome a Vezina trophy winner to the Bell Centre, and this time, he’ll actually be between the pipes. After the Patrick Roy show swept through town on Tuesday, the Habs play host to last year’s top netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob the goalie has take a bit of a step back from last season when he posted a 2.00 GAA and a .932 save percentage, this year his goals against average is up to 2.49 and his save percentage has slipped to .919.

The Question Mark:

Let us know what you think, if the Canadiens played to their their full potential, how far could they go in this year’s playoffs?

Make your voice heard by leaving a comment or sending us a tweet with the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.


On the strength of two point performances by P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec, as well as another outstanding showing by Carey Price, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Join Corey Collard, Kamal Panesar, JD, Nick Murdocco, Mike Obrand and Coach K as they break it all down.

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Bound for the East Coast.

The Metropolitan division will have its new share of visitors: the Columbus Blue Jackets are one of them. During their tenure in the west, they made the post-season once and ended last season 1 point shy of the playoffs. The NHL hopes a change of scenery will provide their organization with a chance to become regulars in the chase for Lord Stanley’s hardware. Equipped with the Vezina winning goalie and good up and coming talent there is no question expectations from fans are a little higher this year.  But then, old Atlantic is known to be one tough division to play in.

Marian Gaborik highlights the skill set for a group of forwards that boast a lot of size and gritty play. Gaborik, now 31, has one year remaining on his contract, has an enormous range of skills. Unfortunately, although he is seemingly plagued by the injury bug, Gaborik has game breaker ability and in a full season’s work can easily produce 60 points as an under, with an expectation of 70 points as a more realistic tally. Last season’s point leader Vaclav Prospal has not been resigned and  in place of the 38 year old, the Jackets hope that a rising star Ryan Johansen, 21, who has been in their fold but unable able find a suitable grove- until now he has been used in many different roles for the club. A healthy Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinski can initially center the top 2 lines, and this could offer a possibility to young Johansen to showcase his skills as a winger. Given the profiles of Anisimov and Dubinski, Johansen may find the right chemistry to succeed.  Wishing to add size to the club, Columbus invested in Nathan Horton.  Being with a team on the rise, Horton will be expected to play more of a top 6 role than he was in Boston where he was branded by many as a playoff performer: in only 2 stints in the post season (36pts in 43gp) and a major factor in helping the Bruins reach the Stanley cup finals both years he had played (he was left out of 2012 run due to injury). When healthy, Horton has the ability to score 20 goals a season… Unfortunately, he is coming off shoulder surgery and will not be ready for the start of the season, and could only factor into the end of year standings if they are unable to find a fitting replacement early on. Two names to retain this season are Boone Jenner and Jonathan Audry-Marchessault.  Second round pick Jenner, finished off his stint in juniors and promptly made his way to Springfield, contributing immediately to the team, and in the short time he finished the year with 4pts in 5gp, staying on for the team’s playoff run and putting up 5pts in 8gp. Expect a season in the minors before management considers bringing him up. Audry-Marchessault, on the other hand, went undrafted, but in two full seasons in the AHL and with two different teams, has shown tremendous skill in netting 131pts in 148gp.  At 5’9” 180lbs you wouldn’t expect Audry-Marchessault to be a force, but the youngster seems to confirm, once again, that sometimes talent goes undrafted.

For Columbus, drafting Ryan Murray was a must The second overall selection has a ton of talent and the club hopes Murray can become the number 1 cornerstone that a Stanley cup winning team usually boasts in their lineup come playoff time, ( Keith, Doughty, Chara are the last three entries that come to mind for the category). Having season- ending shoulder surgery kept him out of the lineup entirely. This season there is no doubt he will make the club and while top line minutes may not be the best way to integrate him, slotting him into a 3-4 role with special teams  could help him adapt more smoothly, and help polish off the end product. Jack Johnson has been given the nod from team USA to attend their training camp and this D-man logged close to 26 minutes a game last season for the Jackets., Injury bitten James Wishniewski, although an effective offensive threat, may not be the ideal role for 1st power play unit: hehas only completed 70 games in a season once in his career. On the other hand, if he can stay healthy, he would likely jump ahead on that depth chart. Shutdown Ds are not the topic of conversations when addressing the main players on a blue-line. However, one name that stood out last season for the Jackets was +/- leader Dalton Prout, at 6’3” 220lbs who finished a +15 in 28gp.

There’s no doubt that Sergei Bobvrosky was going to win the Vezina last season, posting an absurd .932% along with a 2.00 G.A.A. and 21 wins on a team with low expectations. He signed a big money 2- year deal to keep him in Columbus and hopefully his stats do not sink with the expectations. He’s now the feature goalie in the city and people are expecting a repeat performance. With so much elite talent around the league in goal, penciling him in for a Vezina nomination is not the most informed decision. His highest total of games played was 54 in Philadelphia in 2011. While his numbers were respectable .915% and 2.85gaa it will be interesting to see how he handles a season of 65 games or more.