Skip to main content

Habs' home opener highlights Thursday's schedule

NHL.com @NHL
Two weeks after opening their season in Toronto, the Montreal Canadiens finally get to play a home game.

After going 2-3-0 on a season-opening five-game trip, the Canadiens will play their first game this season at the Bell Centre when the Colorado Avalanche come to town. The Canadiens won their first two games, beating Toronto and Buffalo in overtime, but came home empty-handed from Western Canada, sandwiching one-goal losses in Calgary and Edmonton around a 7-1 loss in Vancouver.

The Avs have been one of the NHL's biggest surprises this season. After finishing last in the West in 2008-09, they've opened by going 4-1-1, including a 2-1-1 mark in the first four games of a seven-game trip. Colorado is playing its third game in four days -- the Avs won 4-3 at Boston on Monday and dominated Toronto in a 4-1 victory on Tuesday.

In addition to Colorado, two other Western teams are playing in the Eastern time zone.

The San Jose Sharks kick off a six-game trip in Washington (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network), a city where they've enjoyed a lot of success over the last decade. San Jose has won its last six visits to the Verizon Center, where the Sharks haven't lost since Feb. 20, 1999. Overall, the Sharks have won their last 11 meetings with the Caps, including last season's 7-2 wipeout in San Jose.

The Caps got off to a fast start this season, but have lost four in a row -- largely because their offense has gone cold. Alex Ovechkin had five goals in Washington's first three games but hasn't scored in the next three. He was stopped in the final round of Monday's 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey.

San Jose has won two of its last three but is coming off a 1-0 shootout loss to Phoenix at home Monday night.

The Los Angeles Kings continue their road trip with a visit to Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET). Both teams are coming off losses. The Kings played well but were beaten 4-2 by the Rangers in New York. Detroit comes home after a 6-2 beating in Buffalo on Tuesday.

In the night's only all-East matchup, the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Scotiabank Place to face the Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET). Tampa Bay has gotten good production from Martin St. Louis (9 points) but is still waiting for top gun Vincent Lecavalier to generate some offense -- he ha no goals in the Lightning's first five games.

Ottawa is playing the finale of a four-game homestand in which it beat the Islanders and Thrashers before losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh on Monday.

Two Central Division rivals going different ways meet at the Sommet Center when the Chicago Blackhawks come to Nashville (8 p.m. ET).  The Hawks overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat Calgary 6-5 in overtime on Monday, then topped Edmonton 4-3 on Wednesday. The Predators, who've struggled to score all season, lost 6-1 at home to the Oilers on Monday and 6-0 at Dallas on Wednesday.

The Phoenix Coyotes will be trying to turn on the red light for the first time in three games when they host the St. Louis Blues (10 p.m. ET). The Coyotes were blanked 2-0 by Columbus in their home opener last Saturday and didn't score in 65 minutes at San Jose two nights later -- but won the game 1-0 in a shootout thanks to the play of Ilya Bryzgalov, who earned his second shutout of the season.

The Blues swept two games from Detroit in Stockholm, but haven't done nearly as well since returning to North America -- they lost 4-2 to Atlanta on Thursday and 2-1 to Los Angeles on Saturday.

Thursday's games:

San Jose at Washington, 7 p.m.
Colorado at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Los Angeles at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Chicago at Nashville, 8 p.m.
St. Louis at Phoenix, 10 p.m.



View More