MONTREAL - Fresh off a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Maple Leafs, the Canadiens close out their back-to-back set with a matchup against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre.
SHOP: Throwback T-Shirt
Here's everything you need to know heading into Thursday night's game:
Goaltender Jake Allen delivered a 29-save performance on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena, but it wasn't enough for Montreal to come away victorious. With the score tied 1-1 heading into the third period, defenseman TJ Brodie and left-winger Zach Hyman lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs to put them over the top. Sniper Auston Matthews also scored his League-leading 28th goal of the season for Toronto, while right-winger Corey Perry registered both of the Habs' goals in the loss.
Allen was given the nod after it was revealed that Carey Price was dealing with a nagging lower-body injury. Price remained in Montreal in order to receive treatment.
Veteran presence: Perry recorded his first multi-goal effort in a Canadiens uniform on Wednesday night, scoring his eighth and ninth goals of the year. The 35-year-old Peterborough, ON native has 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists) in 29 outings during the 2020-21 campaign, so he definitely has plenty of gas left in the tank. His second tally on Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell with 2:15 remaining in regulation brought Montreal to within one. Unfortunately, that's as close as the scoreline would get. But, Perry's penchant for delivering in the hard areas on the ice is alive and well. With right-winger Brendan Gallagher on the sidelines for at least six weeks with a fractured thumb, the one-time Stanley Cup champion must continue to be a force in front and cause havoc for opposing defenders and netminders alike.
Collecting helpers: With an assist on Perry's tally in the opening frame, centreman Nick Suzuki extended his point streak to three consecutive games. The 21-year-old London, ON native has four assists during that span. It's Suzuki's longest point streak since he registered his name on the scoresheet in four straight contests between February 27 and March 6. With four points in four games this month, the former 13th overall selection of the Vegas Golden Knights is well on his way to surpassing the six points (2 goals, 4 assists) he collected in 12 appearances in March, and the seven points he amassed in both February (3 goals, 4 assists) and January (2 goals, 5 assists) too. Suzuki is clearly gaining more and more confidence of late, which will undoubtedly lead to consistent and valuable production.
All systems go: Like Suzuki, right-winger Tyler Toffoli has points in three consecutive games after collecting the secondary assist on Perry's third-period strike. With the helper, Toffoli became the first Canadiens player to reach the 30-point plateau this year. He also leads the team with 19 goals, so his tenure in Montreal is off to a great start. Since returning from a lower-body injury on April 3, the 28-year-old Scarborough, ON native has yet to be held without a point. As for his numbers against Winnipeg this season, they're pretty darn good. Toffoli has seven points (5 goals, 2 assists) in six games. He also boasts a four-game goal streak versus the Jets.
At the other end
Left-winger Pierre-Luc Dubois led the way offensively for the Jets in their 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night at Bell MTS Place. Dubois scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season, posting his second multi-goal effort since joining Winnipeg in early February from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Forwards Adam Lowry and Kyle Connor also found the back of the net for the Jets, who outshot the Senators by a 46-23 margin in the Manitoba capital.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves to collect his 18th win of the year.
Paul Maurice's contingent was supposed to be much busier of late, but their Sunday and Tuesday matchups against Vancouver were postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation involving the Canucks.
Eyes on Kyle: Six of Connor's team-leading 18 goals have come against the Canadiens. He scored twice on February 25, twice on March 15 and twice more on March 17. In fact, three of his four multi-goal efforts so far this season have come versus Montreal. The 24-year-old left-winger, who ranks third on the roster with 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) in 39 games, loves to put the puck on net, as evidenced by his team-leading 127 shots. Twenty-two of those shots have come against Price and Allen, so expect more of the same from the University of Michigan product this time around.
Be extra careful: Dangerous is the best way to describe the Jets' power play this season, and with good reason. Winnipeg ranks third in the NHL in that department, having scored on 25.9% of their opportunities with the man advantage. That should come as no surprise given the numerous offensive weapons Maurice has at his disposal. Connor has a team-leading eight power play goals, while forwards Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele have both amassed 13 power play points (3 goals, 10 assists) apiece. Wheeler, however, didn't make the trip after taking an elbow from Senators forward Brady Tkachuk. The Jets are treating the situation as a concussion. Regardless, Ducharme will remind his troops to stay disciplined and avoid the penalty box as much as possible.
Speed trap: One of five mainstays in the Jets' lineup who've reached the 30-point plateau is centreman Andrew Copp. The 26-year-old Ann Arbor, MI native has already set career-highs this season with 12 goals and 30 points in 39 games. With two assists on Monday night, Copp has 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in his last nine appearances, so he's a player the Canadiens will definitely be watching closely. A fourth-round selection of Winnipeg in 2013 (104th overall) out of the University of Michigan, Copp scored four goals against the Canucks on March 24 in Vancouver, two of which came on the power play. He has eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 13 career games against Montreal.
Here are a few key stats from the six meetings between Winnipeg and Montreal earlier this season:
|WINNIPEG || ||MONTREAL |
|4-2-0 ||Record ||2-1-3 |
|19 ||Goals ||21 |
|173 ||Shots on goal ||193 |
|31.2% ||PP% ||30% |
|70% ||PK% ||68.8% |
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on TSN2, TSN3 and RDS, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.