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Sports Canucks at Canadiens: Five things you should know

15:01  29 november  2021
15:01  29 november  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Diving Deep into Jim Benning’s Draft History with the Vancouver Canucks

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Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher (11) tries to shake off Vancouver Canucks' Jake Virtanen (18) in Montreal on March 20, 2021. © Provided by The Gazette Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher (11) tries to shake off Vancouver Canucks' Jake Virtanen (18) in Montreal on March 20, 2021.

Here are five things you should know about Monday’s game between the Canadiens (6-15-2) and the Vancouver Canucks (6-14-2) at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

Two in a row? The Canadiens, who have a 4-6-1 record at home, will be looking to win a second straight game for the first time this season. The Canadiens’ offensive stats got a boost Saturday night in Pittsburgh with three empty-net goals in a 6-3 win over the Penguins , but they still have a minus-29 goal differential for the season (the second-worst in the NHL behind Arizona’s minus-38) and have been outscored 74-25 in their 17 losses.

Game Day Notebook: GM's positive COVID test is more bad news for Habs

  Game Day Notebook: GM's positive COVID test is more bad news for Habs Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme spoke with Marc Bergevin on Saturday morning and said the team’s GM was “feeling pretty good” a day after testing positive for COVID-19. Ducharme wasn’t on the ice for his team’s optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard but the assistant coaches who were on the ice were back to wearing masks. “I didn’t know our coaches were wearing masks,” Ducharme said when the masks were mentioned to him. “We’re going back to that? I didn’t know.” For the next 10 days, the Canadiens players and staff will be tested daily for COVID-19.

The first star: Jake Allen was the first star for the Canadiens on Saturday , stopping 47 of the 50 shots he faced while improving his record to 5-9-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. The Canadiens have a 2-9-1 record on the road and Allen has both of those road victories, facing a combined 95 shots in those two games. Allen stopped all 45 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Sharks in San Jose on Oct. 28.

They all count: Josh Anderson scored two of the empty-net goals for the Canadiens on Saturday and Tyler Toffoli got the other one. Three of Anderson’s seven goals this season have been empty-netters and two of Toffoli’s five goals have been with no goalie. For Toffoli, who also had two assists Saturday, it was his first goal on the road this season. Toffoli leads the Canadiens in scoring with 5-10-15 totals, followed by Nick Suzuki (4-11-15) and Anderson (7-6-13).

Stu Cowan: Push comes to shove as Canadiens descend into abyss

  Stu Cowan: Push comes to shove as Canadiens descend into abyss When will enough be enough? How many more lopsided losses, how much longer without being able to even win two games in a row will it be before Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson finally comes forward with some kind of a plan to fix the team’s many problems? GM Marc Bergevin spoke with selected members of the media last weekend in one-on-one interviews, but what he says carries little weight at this point because it seems very unlikely he will be back after this season. So what’s the plan to fix this mess and when will Molson decide that the team’s fans and, especially, season-ticket holders deserve some kind of explanation about what the heck is going on.

Two struggling franchises: The Canadiens started to clean house on Sunday, announcing GM Marc Bergevin and assistant GM Trevor Timmins had been fired , while assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigned on Saturday . Canucks fans are probably waiting for the same thing to happen in Vancouver with only six wins in their first 22 games following Sunday night’s 3-2 loss to the Bruins in Boston . Much more was expected from the Canucks this season and the heat is definitely on GM Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. J.T. Miller leads the Canucks in scoring with 7-12-19 totals, followed by Connor Garland (6-9-15) and Quinn Hughes (2-13-15). No. 1 goalie Thatcher Demko has a 6-10-1 record with a 3.07 GAA and a .904 save percentage. The Canucks have a 3-8-1 road record.

Remember us? Montreal and Vancouver played each other nine times last season in the all-Canadian North Division with the Canadiens posting a 6-0-3 record while outscoring the Canucks 41-26. Those games against Vancouver are a very big reason why the Canadiens were able to squeak into the playoffs, earning the fourth and final spot in the division with a 24-21-11 record, four points ahead of the fifth-place Calgary Flames. The Canadiens had an 18-21-8 record against the other teams in the division. Toffoli had 8-5-13 totals in the eight games he played against Vancouver and finished the season as the Canadiens’ leading scorer with 28-16-44 totals in 52 games. This will be the first of only two games between the Canadiens and Canucks this season. The teams will play each other again on March 9 in Vancouver.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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