The Montreal Canadiens will ice a decidedly different-looking team from the one that snapped Boston’s 12-game winning streak on Monday.
The two forwards injured by Bruins d-man Kevan Miller — Travis Moen and Dale Weise — are out for tonight’s game against Buffalo, replaced by Lars Eller and Ryan White. On defense, Jarred Tinordi will return from his stint as a healthy scratch and suit up — at the expense of veteran Francis Bouillon, who’ll sit.
In goal, Carey Price will get the start after Peter Budaj was brilliant in stopping 28 of 29 shots against Boston.
These certainly are interesting times for the Habs. With Moen, Weise and Brandon Prust out of the lineup — Prust was lost for the remainder of the regular season last week with an upper-body injury — the team definitely lacks some grit and toughness in its bottom-six forward group, something that’s historically been an issue given the lack of size among the top-six.
That said, the club has shown some major resiliency lately.
Montreal has won five of six after a tough stretch from Mar. 3-12, where they lost three of four during a Western road swing through L.A., Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose. The Habs then returned home for a listless 4-1 loss to Boston, which seemed to provide a spark — since then, Montreal’s racked up wins over Ottawa, Colorado, Buffalo, Toronto and Boston to draw even with Tampa Bay on points (87) in the Atlantic Division.
Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.
For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.
It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.
Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.
He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:
More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.
There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.
Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.
Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.
This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.
Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.
Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.
While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.
Rate this as you will:
Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not:
As much as this Tampa Bay Lightning – Montreal Canadiens means right now, losing Nikita Kucherov would hang a dark cloud over any result for the Bolts.
There hasn’t been an update yet regarding whether Kucherov is actually injured – or if this is a minor vs. significant issue – but there are concerns after he fell into the boards during tonight’s game.
You can see the fall in video form above the headline and also in this GIF from Stephanie Hail: