MONTREAL – Up for the Habs this week : Two visits from the Western Conference book-ending another two inter-division matchups.
Canadiens vs. Flames – Monday, January 17 @ 7:30 PM
The Canadiens will host the Calgary Flames Monday night at the Bell Centre for the first time since Nov. 11, 2009. While the Flames may be sitting out of contention for a playoff spot, currently ranking 14th out of the Western Conference’s 15 teams, the Calgary troops seem to have found their groove in the East.
After dropping three of their first four games of 2011, the Flames have come on strong during their four-game Eastern Conference tilt scheduled to culminate in Montreal on Monday. Calgary first picked up a point during a shootout loss in Carolina before going on notch wins over the Senators and Maple Leafs, with Ollie Jokinen potting the shootout winner Saturday night in Toronto. Canadiens @ Sabres – Tuesday, January 18 @ 7:30
Tuesday’s game marks the first of two back-to-back division rivalries for the Habs. The Sabres may be a ways back in the standings as the Canadiens and the Bruins battle for supremacy over the Northeast Division, but they appear in the Habs’ rear-view mirror all the same. Buffalo currently sits 10 points behind the Canadiens. After a recent strong showing, posting five wins in their last seven games, the Sabres don’t expect to be counted out anytime soon.
So far this season, the Canadiens have held the upper-hand over the Sabres, walking away with wins in all three of the clubs’ meetings. While the Sabres have yet to get the best of the Habs, the games have been close ones with two of being decided by a single goal and the other by two. During those matchups a total of 12 Canadiens made their way onto the score-sheet, most notably Brian Gionta
with two goals and an assist and Jeff Halpern with one goal and two assists.Canadiens @ Senators – Friday, January 21 @ 7:30PM
Next up for the Habs is a trip to the Canadian capital as they make their way to Scotiabank Place to face Cory Clouston and the Sens. In the midst of a recent tough stretch, the Senators will be looking to make things tough on Jacques Martin and his troops as they gun for only their second win in five outings. Canadiens vs. Ducks – Saturday, January 22 @ 7:00PM
A few familiar faces will be returning to the Bell Centre Saturday night as the Habs face-off against a couple of ex-teammates. For some, the change in uniform will have come a little more recently as will be the case with Maxim Lapierre, making his first appearance back in Montreal since being traded. In his short time with the Ducks, Lapierre has played in four games, picking up one point and five penalty minutes.
Fans will also get a chance to see Saku Koivu back in action on Bell Centre ice. Since heading to Anaheim, the former Habs’ captain has played only a single game against the team that originally drafted him in 1993. It will mark his first time playing in Montreal since the Apr. 22, 2009.Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.SEE ALSOThe Guardian Project: The Canadien unveiledAt close range Back on track The third outdoor rink inaugurated