Rare encounter between Blackhawks and Canadiens
As the end of the regular season approaches, the Blackhawks (45-19-15) host the Montreal Canadiens (45-27-7), the Eastern Conference’s number 3. Still without their two biggest stars, Chicago still managed to win against the West’s leaders St Louis Blues on Sunday, while the Habs ar on a 2-game win streak after defeating the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings.
These two teams only faced each other once in the season, an OT win for the Canadiens, in Montreal, back in January. The Hawks will want to get even with a solid win, but the W is essential for Chicago anyway - they need every point they can. Currently, they are sitting 4 points under the Colorado Avalanche, which they will very likely face during the first round of the playoffs, and this gives the Avs the home ice advantage. The Blackhawks have had a lot more playoffs success with home ice advantage in their corner, and winning their last 3 games will be key.
The Habs are, for now, facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in their playoffs first round, with home ice advantage. They’ve had a solid season, and their main goaltender Carey Price (2.37 GAA, .925 SV%) has been solid for them, as well as for team Canada during the Olympics. He’s dealt with an injury post-Olympics, but is now back and healthy.
The Blackhawks are still without Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews, but Patrick Sharp is holding the team lead in points, and he scored yet another goal against the Blues on Sunday afternoon. The team showed resilience and heart in a physical game against St Louis.
This game looks to be more important for the Blackhawks than for the Canadiens, but Montreal has a skilled, passionate team that will not go down without a fight. It should be an interesting match-up, as it’s a rare one.
Game time is 7.30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on RDS, TSN, CSN-CH.