It took 11 games before the Montreal Canadiens suffered their first regulation loss last season en route to the Atlantic Division title. The reeling Canadiens are hoping it doesn’t take that many games to earn their first regulation win this season as they limp into the last stop of a three-game road trip at the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Montreal has dropped six games in a row since a 3-2 shootout win at Buffalo in the season opener and has been been outscored 10-3 on the first two legs of the California trip. The punchless Canadiens are the only team in the league without a regulation victory and are buried in the Atlantic cellar. Anaheim, which like Montreal won a division title last season, has been idle since a 3-1 home loss to Buffalo on Sunday - the fourth time in six games it has produced two goals or fewer. The Ducks ranked tied for 29th in the league in scoring through Wednesday with an average of 2.00 goals per game, and only the Canadiens are worse with a paltry total of 1.43.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, TSN2, RDS (Montreal), Prime Ticket (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (1-5-1): Goaltender Carey Price sat out his first game in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss at Los Angeles and now faces an opponent against whom he has enjoyed little success. The former Vezina Trophy winner, who has surrendered four goals in three of his last five starts, has faced the Ducks nine times and owns a 2-5-1 and 2.41 goals-against average. Claude Julien shuffled his lines for the Los Angeles matchup but all Montreal could produce was a goal by Paul Byron - his first of the season.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (2-3-1): Anaheim’s roster is dotted with walking wounded but reinforcements could be on the way, with coach Randy Carlyle saying a decision on some players will be made after Friday’s morning skate. Forward Ondrej Kase, out the past three games due to an upper-body injury, could be one of them after saying Thursday that “everything has been a little bit better, better and better.” Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves have been day-to-day, but Carlyle termed both players “highly doubtful.”
1. The teams have split the series the past two seasons, with the home team winning each time.
2. The Ducks are 0-for-21 on the power play in their first six games.
3. Canadiens D David Schlemko had surgery on his hand Wednesday and is expected to be out three to four weeks.
PREDICTION: Ducks 3, Canadiens 2