Game Day: Montreal Canadiens Vs. Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles, California
The Montreal Canadiens are used to playing Saturday night games in primetime. Well primetime in Los Angeles is noon and no other games are on tap for the afternoon. So once again the league has given the Habs the marquee spot.
Marquee spots are usually given to good teams, to teams who have superstars and to teams who have a chance at the Cup. The Montreal Canadiens are a team with none of those attributes.
The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, are ready for primetime. They have stars up front and stars on the back end. In the wildly competitive Western conference they sit in sixth spot. Playoff fever is back on the west coast and this time it took a slow rebuild drafting high and drafting well. In the summer they added a few big pieces and finally the Kings are ready to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
This afternoon’s game will be one between two teams going in opposite directions. The Habs have lost four in a row and only have three wins in their last ten outings. The Kings have won two in a row and six from their last ten. Los Angeles is in the playoffs and the Habs are not. They have big skilled forwards. They have Anze Kopitar up front and Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson on defence. Other than P.K. Subban the Habs don’t have that type of youthful star player on their roster.
So what’s the difference? Has it been drafting or coaching? Is it the organizations themselves that are different? Has it been that the Kings have finished near the bottom of the standings long enough to stockpile talent? Has it been the higher expectations that the Habs have every year?
It has been all the above. Kings have fans have something to look forward to. Canadiens fans are waiting for an over haul of the team and organization.
The Habs are coming off a shoot out loss to the San Jose Sharks. The effort was there but simple breakdowns in their own zone once again led to all of the Sharks goals. The Kings are coming off a 2-1 victory over the resurgent Florida Panthers
Montreal’s injury list is still very long and includes the veterans that were supposed to help this team. Most importantly, Andrei Markov will not be making his long awaited return. Now that Crosby is back, Markov-gate is the new day-to-day discussion. The Kings will be without their summer key acquisition, Mike Richards, who has the ever-popular upper body injury. Defenseman Willie Mitchell is a game-time decision.
Carey Price and Jonathan Bernier will get the starts. The game is always important to both teams but I am sure coach Martin does not want to go into the next game against Columbus losing five in a row.
The game will be on CBC, RDS, NHLN-US and broadcast on TSN990 in Montreal at 3:30 pm EST.
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Shahab Khan the Schoolboy