New Jersey at Montreal
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The Montreal Canadiens return to the Bell Centre for the first time in two weeks when they open a four-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Eastern Conference-leading Montreal capped its five-game road trip with a crushing defeat, blowing a two-goal lead in the third period of an eventual 3-2 loss at St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Despite the late collapse against the Blues, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was more than satisfied with the 2-2-1 trek despite losing leading scorer Alex Galchenyuk to injury. "I've got to look at the big picture," Therrien said. "On that road trip, we met some really good hockey teams and they were all close games. I like the way our team played." New Jersey is coming off back-to-back victories, edging Vancouver 3-2 on Tuesday for its first regulation win since Nov. 12. While the Devils are the league's only team without a regulation loss at home (8-0-2), Saturday's 5-4 overtime win at Nashville ended a six-game skid (1-4-2) on the road.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus2 (New Jersey), SN360, RDS (Montreal)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (12-7-6): Taylor Hall was front and center in Tuesday's win over Vancouver, scoring one goal, setting up another and delivering a thunderous check that sent Vancouver defenseman Philip Larsen to the hospital (he was since released). “I’m looking to make contact there but I never want to see a guy laying on the ice like that,” said Hall, a former teammate of Larsen. Hall has provided quite a jolt to New Jersey's offense after missing two games, notching two goals and three assists in the last two contests.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (17-6-3): Top-line center Galchenyuk will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following a knee-on-knee collision with Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar on Sunday. Galchenyuk has a team-leading nine goals and 23 points and leaves a huge void in the middle, especially with center David Desharnais also sidelined six-to-eight weeks after exiting Tuesday's loss at St. Louis with a knee injury. Center Tomas Plekanec ended a 13-game goal-scoring drought with a goal and an assist Tuesday.
1. The Canadiens are 12-1-1 at home, including 10 straight wins at the Bell Centre to open the season.
2. Devils rookie F Pavel Zacha will miss his second straight game due to a facial laceration.
3. Canadiens G Carey Price is 11-1-1 with a 1.69 goals-against average and two shutouts in 13 home starts.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 3, Devils 1
Stats and Records