The Montreal Canadiens continue their five-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday armed with the NHL’s best record and arguably its best player in goaltender Carey Price. The 2015 Hart Trophy winner is bidding for another MVP trophy with a league-most 13 victories against two losses (one in overtime), a 1.66 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage while Montreal owns the largest division lead at five points over Ottawa in the Atlantic.
“It’s a trip that’s coming at just the right time for us,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters after beginning the trek with a 2-1 victory in overtime over Detroit. “It’s going to be tough. We’ll face good teams and I‘m eager to see how we respond. We’ve been playing with confidence but we’ll take things one game at a time.” Anaheim snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory in San Jose on Saturday and makes a pit stop at home before embarking on a three-game swing through Western Canada. “It feels good,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf told reporters after the Sharks contest. “We’ve got to feel good about ourselves and try and carry that over. Remember that feeling. Remember the work that went into it. Try and carry it over to the next one.” Each team features a player who snapped a long goal drought in his last game as Getzlaf and Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher scored for the first time in 16 contests.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, RDS, Sportsnet East (Montreal), FSN West (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (16-4-2): Montreal acquired defenseman Shea Weber from Nashville in exchange for P.K. Subban during the offseason and the trade is working out as Weber leads the NHL with seven power-play goals and his plus-18 rating is second in the league to the New York Rangers’ Michael Grabner. Alex Galchenyuk recorded his team-best ninth goal Saturday for his third in four games while his 22 points lead the club. Alexander Radulov (four goals, 18 points), who played the last four seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, has a goal and nine assists in his last nine games while thriving on Galchenyuk’s line.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (10-8-4): With Getzlaf off the schneid, it’s Corey Perry’s turn to score as the 2011 Hart winner and author of 334 career goals hasn’t recorded one in 14 games. Anaheim continues to get steady production from Rickard Rakell, who shares the team lead with eight goals and boasts 12 points in 13 games since returning from abdominal surgery and a contract holdout. Ryan Kesler is off to fast start with eight goals and is on pace to record his highest-scoring season since recording 41 while also winning the Selke Award in 2010-11 with Vancouver, and the 2015-16 Selke finalist leads the NHL in faceoffs won with 301.
1. Price allowed four goals three times this season and two or fewer in his other 12 games.
2. Getzlaf (16 assists) and Perry (14) share the team lead in points with 18.
3. The teams split a pair of meetings last season with each winning a one-goal game on its home ice.
PREDICTION: Ducks 2, Canadiens 1