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Same Old, Same Old...

April 19, 2021, 4:43 PM ET [503 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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After a lengthy stay at home, the Habs are now on the road and will play the first game of this road trip tonight in Edmonton against McDavid and co. Since Marc Bergevin hasn’t made any roster moves and Ducharme doesn’t want to use his last call-up, the line-up will be the same as the one who failed to show up against the Sens on Saturday afternoon.

As for the lines, they will be as follows:
Tatar-Danault-Anderson
Toffoli-Suzuki-Armia
Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Byron
Lehkonen-Staal-Perry

It’s now Josh Anderson’s turn to try and replace Brendan Gallagher on the first line, hopefully he can link-up as well as the diminutive winger with Tatar and Danault. The Suzuki line stays intact, which is good since there is a budding chemistry between him Toffoli and Armia. Meanwhile, Kotkaniemi draws the short straw once more flanked by an unproductive Drouin and Paul Byron. As for the 4th line, clearly, Ducharme isn’t concerned with its lack of speed.
Personally, I would have liked to see Perry on KK’s wing, unlike Staal he finds a way to be effective even if he’s not as fast as he once was and his production has pummelled since he’s been put on Staal’s wing. At least, with Lehkonen and Byron, the 4th line would be faster, and KK would have a smart winger who finds a way to put himself in space and convert on his chances.

The most welcome change however is the fact that Staal is no longer on the power play, hopefully, it will help make it more effective. For now, Ducharme thinks he’s only got 2 blue liners suited to power play duties (Weber and Petry), but he doesn’t exclude the possibility to insert Gustafsson once he joins the team and he can be evaluated.

Tomorrow, Jon Merril’s quarantine will be over, and he’ll be able to join the team whereas Gustafsson’s one will end on Wednesday. Ducharme mentioned that it would be hard to insert them in the line-up after a single morning skate, so it may be a few days yet before we find out who will make room for the new acquisitions, if anyone.

Tonight, Carey Price will mind the net as he did in the last game, hopefully, he’s ready to bounce back from Saturday’s game. The good news is that so far this season, the Habs have got a winning record against the Oilers, having won 4 of the 5 meetings and managing to almost silence McDavid and Draisaitl. You can bet Dominique Ducharme is hoping for more of the same as his team must find a way to get back to winning. The puck drops at 9:00 PM, so you’ve got time to take a little nap if you think you may struggle to stay awake…given Saturday’s performance, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

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