MONTREAL – The air might be getting cooler with each passing day but the Canadiens certainly aren’t feeling it. The Habs are hot heading into the first week of November, at 8-1-1 following Saturday’s big comeback win over the Islanders. Guy Carbonneau’s squad has just two games on tap this week and nothing before Friday, when they’ll travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.
The Canadiens and Jackets have met seven times since Columbus joined the NHL but this week’s matchup marks just the third time the Habs will be the visitors. Their last visit to Nationwide Arena was back on February 18, 2007 and it turned out to be a memorable one for Jaroslav Halak. The Slovak netminder made his NHL debut that night and led his teammates to a 3-2 win.
While the Canadiens haven’t faced the Blue Jackets that often, a couple of players on the roster are more than familiar with their first opponent of the week. Robert Lang called the Central Division home for the last three seasons, bringing his career totals to 31 points in 32 games against Columbus. Alex Tanguay is also accustomed to Ken Hitchcock’s crew, with 23 points in 26 career games and a remarkable plus-17 differential.
The road trip concludes on Saturday night with an Original Six matchup against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Habs and Leafs last squared off one month ago, with Guy Carbonneau’s squad skating away with a 6-1 victory. Tanguay showed fans why Bob Gainey acquired him that night, racking up a goal and three assists in the contest.
Keep an eye on: Tomas Plekanec, Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn:
After a slow start to the season the trio broke out on against the Islanders with nine points. Plekanec had just three points in his previous nine games but, along with Kovalev, had a hand in all but one of the Canadiens’ five goals. Mike Komisarek:
His role may be that of a physical, stay-at-home defenseman but for some reason, the offensive flair of Mike Komisarek comes through in games against Toronto. He’s scored 48 points in his career and eight of them have come against the Leafs, his second-highest total against any NHL team.Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com