Winnipeg continues their
five-game road trip tonight when they take on the highly touted Montreal
Canadiens in the Bell Centre.
Montreal currently sits second
in the Atlantic division with a 10-4-1 record and is riding a two-game win
streak heading into tonight’s game.
Tonight is the first of two
meetings between Winnipeg and Montreal this season. The Jets and Habs split the
season series last year with a win apiece.
Lines provided by Daily Faceoff
Since Evander Kane’s return to
the lineup, the Jets forwards have been fortunate avoiding injury and
continuing to form chemistry between all their lines.
The lineup remains unchanged
yet again, which is good for the 12 in the game, but I can’t help but wonder
when Halischuk is going to get his shot to return to the lineup.
The Jets have one of the
biggest groups of forwards in the NHL with just three forwards below 6’0 and
three forwards over 6’4. They will have to use their size to shutdown
Montreal’s speedy forwards.
I’m expecting big things out of
Winnipeg’s third line tonight, due to Byfuglien’s recent play and his ability
to completely overpower any opponent that tries to separate him from the puck.
Pavelec’s play continues to
impress game in and game out, providing Winnipeg with a chance to win every
night he starts. (If you told me I would be saying this about Pavelec a year
ago, I never would’ve believed you.)
For the defence, Winnipeg has
appears to have found the six they want to roll with on a nightly basis, and I
am more than okay with that.
One thing to note about the
lineup is the pairing of Bogosian and Enstrom moving into the top slot, could
this mean they will be getting more ice-time than Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart?
We’ll have to wait and see.
Size has always been an
important factor for me in an NHL team. Like the old saying goes “You cannot
teach size,” and Montreal’s forwards don’t bring much to the table.
Sure they have tried to get
bigger in recent years with the additions of Dale Weise, Jiri Sekac and Manny
Malhotra, but (with the exception of Max Pacioretty) their leaders on offence
are still the undersized forwards they always have been. Need I remind you of
the line of Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez?
With all that being said,
Montreal still has a very skilled and fast group of forwards who are a threat
to score on any shift. Their second line of Galchenyuk, Plekanec and Gallagher
can play both tough and skilled, they are my line to watch out for tonight.
Carey Price is amazing, that’s
all I need to say, but it isn’t all I’m going to. He comes into a game brimming
of the confidence he had in the Sochi Olympics this past February and you can
see it in his play.
On the nights where his defence
isn’t doing much for him, he’ll turn away 35 shots and take a game into a
shootout where he and his team have the best chance at victory.
Price isn’t the only player to
watch on Montreal’s back end, P.K. Subban has become everyone favourite
rearguard to watch nightly. The man is a bull on the ice, you can’t shake him
off your path, you can’t make him miss a check and you certainly cannot take
the puck off his stick when he gets moving.
I cannot wait to see the matchup
between Subban and Byfuglien. That is going to be the best battle on the ice
Game Day Prediction: With this being just Game 2 of the five-game road trip and the
Jets having two full days of rest, I believe they have a good chance of leaving
Montreal with a victory. Winnipeg wins 3-1.
Obvious Prediction: Carey Price shows why he is an Olympic Gold Medalist by
turning away 30+ shots in a losing effort.
Not So Obvious
Prediction: The ‘Big’ Line of Perreault, Lowry
and Byfuglien will use their size to their advantage against the often-undersized
Canadiens team, scoring all goals for Winnipeg tonight.