The Montreal Canadiens got off to a blistering start a year ago before they were rocked in a record-setting loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That memory likely will be in the minds of the resurgent Canadiens as they prepare to host the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in this season’s first meeting between the teams..
Montreal had won eight straight during a 9-0-1 start before a 10-0 bludgeoning in Columbus 12 months ago, matching the biggest defeat in franchise history. The Canadiens stumbled out of the gate this season, going 1-6-1 in their first eight games, but they have turned things around by winning four of their last five. The Blue Jackets halted a four-game skid with a 2-1 shootout victory in Detroit on Saturday night, but they are 4-0-1 in their last five against Montreal. Columbus, which set a club record with the 10-goal outburst against the Canadiens last November. has scored just one regulation goal in each of the past three games and owns the league’s worst power play.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (10-7-1): Artemi Panarin pumped in 61 goals in his first two seasons with Chicago, but he tallied just once in his first 14 games with Columbus. However, the 26-year-old is showing signs of emerging from his funk by scoring twice in the past four games including the lone regulation tally against Detroit. “Those things start putting layers of confidence for a guy like him,” coach John Tortorella said. “Hopefully, it will springboard him.”
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (8-9-1): Montreal is making a run despite the absence of former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price (lower body), who has missed the past five games, and backup Al Montoya (concussion). Charlie Lindgren has stepped into the void and is expected to make his fifth consecutive start versus Columbus. “He’s been awesome,” said captain Max Pacioretty, who scored the decisive tally in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win over Buffalo.
1. The Blue Jackets shuffled their power-play units at Monday’s practice. They are 13 of 52 with the extra skater in the last 15 games versus Montreal.
2. Lindgren, who sports a 6-1-0 lifetime record, has yielded five goals in four starts this season.
3. Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky was 2-0-1 versus Montreal last season, stopping 95 of 97 shots.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 3, Blue Jackets 2