The Canucks haven't had too many disappointing outings so far this season but Sunday’s loss in Ottawa would qualify as one. Looking to rebound from a setback in Toronto one night earlier, Vancouver came out with a purpose at the Canadian Tire Centre jumping out 3-0 lead just over 25 minutes into the game but then the wheels fell off in the second half of the contest. The Canucks allowed four straight goals to drop a 4-3 decision to the slumping Sens although the silver lining was they managed to force overtime before giving up the fourth Ottawa marker to collect a single point in the standings. The Canucks, whose record on their current road trip fell to 3-2-1 as a result of the loss in Ottawa, still have a chance to close out the swing on a high note by knocking off another struggling team in the Canadiens tonight but they will have to avoid another letdown.
The Canadiens are coming off a four-game road trip that began eight days ago with a win in Colorado but ended with three straight regulation losses, including a 4-1 loss in Dallas in the finale. It's the first time all season that Montreal has gone three straight games without earning a point. It's safe to say the Habs are looking forward to getting back into the friendly confines of the Bell Centre where they are 9-3-1 this season although they did lose two of their last three games in front of their home fans prior to embarking on their four-game trip. This is the second and final meeting between the Canucks and Habs. Vancouver earned a hard-fought 3-2 overtime win back on October 30 at Rogers Arena. Ryan Miller, who is expected to be back between the pipes for the Canucks tonight, made 23 saves on 25 shots that night. Carey Price, who stopped 27 of 30 shots that night in a losing effort, figures to get the call for the Habs again tonight. Price started all four games on the road trip for Montreal.
Puck drop at 4:30 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Protect the goalie. Sometimes your goalie has to steal a game, but then again you also can't hang him out to dry like the Canucks did on Sunday when they allowed 45 shots against – the second most they've given up this season. Montreal isn't exactly a shot-happy team but then against neither was Ottawa. Vancouver needs to be better at puck possession and not give up as much offensive zone time.
Regain confidence. The Canucks had a few bad bounces and calls go against them in Ottawa but that still doesn't explain the way they lost their composure and ultimately their 3-0 lead. They need to have a short memory heading into tonight's game and find a way to maintain their cool if things don't go their way.
Use the emotion. Tonight marks the first home game for the Habs since the passing of legendary Canadien Jean Béliveau. Knowing the Habs, they will do right by him with a very touching tribute. The fans will be fired up and the players need to feed off the energy and buzz in the building.
By the Numbers
Power play goals for the Canucks over their last three games (0-for-11).
Win needed for the Canadiens to reach 3,300 franchise victories (NHA and NHL combined).
Straight games with a point for Brad Richardson (3-2-5) entering play tonight, tied for his career-high.
Years ago yesterday the Canucks last won at the Bell Centre. They've only played once there since (5-2 loss last season).
Straight games without a point for the Higgins-Bonino-Burrows line entering play tonight.
Career wins for Ryan Miller against the Canadiens, tied for second-most among all NHL teams he's faced.