The Florida Panthers will be in town Thursday night, and the Montreal Canadiens appear to be in better mental shape than they were a few weeks ago to battle the big cats.
In the midst of a disastrous holiday trip, CH suffered a heartbreaking 7-2 loss against the Panthers. Goaltender Samuel Montembeault, who stepped up this week, was having his worst streak of the season, allowing 7 goals on 41 shots.
Watch Martin St-Louis’ pre-match press briefing in the main video.
Aleksander Barkov led his team with five points, including a hat trick, during this bombardment in good condition. Things are still going well for the Panthers captain, who scored 10 points in nine games in January.
Matthew Tkachuk is also off to a great start to 2023 with 13 points. The American left winger also gave the Canadian a hard time with two goals and three points.
The Panthers are going through an up-and-down streak with points in their last three games, as well as a couple of losses in 2023. Against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, Paul Maurice’s men blew a two lead to eventually succumb 5-4 in overtime. The coach also had to argue with Quebec officials Pierre Lambert and Francois St-Laurent after a meeting in which he ruled the refereeing was uneven.
With seven defenders
Martin will field a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the St.Louis Panthers as he gets used to a handful of games due to multiple injuries.
At least eight quarterbacks worked out at the Bell Center before the game. Arber Xhekaj and Chris Wideman were already on the right side, but that’s what St-Louis should be on the sidelines for the second match in a row.
Offensively, Jesse Ylonen was still leading the way along with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. The latter’s usual partner, Kirby Dach, led the third block along with Michael Pezzetta and Evgenii Dadonov. Rem Pitlick and Rafael Harvey-Pinard formed a back-to-back trio from the left.
In his press briefing, St.Louis said he had to embrace the team’s culture despite multiple injuries. Many youngsters will also benefit from increased ice time to showcase themselves.
“It allows you to evaluate other players, play them a little more, move to another chair,” said the instructor. You look at the good teams in the league that have success year after year. They have a culture that is stronger than the individual. Even if they recall a guy in the summer or get a free agent, the train continues. This is due to good culture […] and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The challenge will be huge against the Panthers, who have picked up points in their last three games. Florida defeated CH 7 on December 29, 2 thanks to Aleksander Barkov’s five points.
“I think we’re in a better place as a team right now,” St.Louis said. Can’t wait to see. Every game has challenges. Each team brings different elements and you, like Barkov, need to know when they are on the ice.
Goalkeeper Jake Allen had a long workout with instructor Eric Raymond before the rest of the group. The New Brunswicker is expected to be out another week with an upper body injury.
Quebecer Samuel Montembeault will be the reliable man between the posts for the sixth straight game. A three-time hitter in that streak, he maintained an outstanding .946 slugging percentage.
Press briefings by N. Suzuki, J. Harris and D. Savard –
Formation of CH in training:
22 – Cole Caufield 14 – Nick Suzuki 56 – Jesse Ylonen
68 – Mike Hoffman 28 – Christian Dvorak 17 – Josh Anderson
55 – Michael Pezzetta 77 – Kirby Dach 63 – Evgenii Dadonov
32 – Rem Pitlick 49 – Rafael Harvey-Pinard
44 – Joel Edmundson 52 – Justin Barron
8 – Mike Matheson 58 – David Savard
54 – Jordan Harris 26 – Jonathan Kovacevic
72 – Arber Xekaj
6 – Chris Wideman
35 – Samuel Montembeault
30 – Cayden Primeau