Habs vs. Kings could be a defensive battle

The Canadiens held an optional morning skate Tuesday in Brossard before facing the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, Travis Moen, Ryan White and P.K. Subban didn’t take part in the optional skate, instead doing off-ice workouts.

George Parros and Douglas Murray were the last two players to leave the ice after the morning skate, meaning they are likely to be healthy scratches. That would mean the forward lines remain the same as they were for Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, with Francis Bouillon taking Murray’s spot beside Raphael Diaz on the blue line. Rene Bourque, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury, celebrates his 32nd birthday on Tuesday.

The Canadiens and Kings have two of the hottest goalies in the NHL. The Canadiens’ Carey Price ranks fifth in the NHL in goals-against average (1.95) and is tied for second in save percentage (.938), while the Kings’ Ben Scrivens ranks second in GAA (1.56) and first in save percentage (.943). Scrivens took over the No. 1 goalie job in L.A. after Jonathan Quick went down with a groin injury.

However, rookie Martin Jones could get the start in goal for the Kings against the Canadiens. Jones picked up his first NHL shutout in only his second career start Saturday night in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. Before being called up by the Kings, the 23-year-old Jones had a 9-2-2 record with a 2.24 GAA and .927 save percentage with the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL.

In their last 14 games, the Canadiens have allowed more than two goals only once while posting an 11-1-2 record. The Canadiens haven’t lost in regulation time since dropping a 1-0 decision to the New York Rangers on Nov. 16. The Kings have gone 15 straight games without allowing more than two goals, posting a 10-1-4 record during that stretch. The Kings have a 6-1-1 road record against Eastern Conference teams this season.

“Los Angeles is a team that I respect a lot,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters after the morning skate. “We can’t forget that they won the Cup two years ago, and I give a lot of credit to champions, teams who have gone all the way and won together. They still have the same core as the winning team two years ago, and they’re a very physical team which is good on the forecheck and puts a lot of pressure on its opponents.”

The Kings will be making their first visit to Montreal since Nov. 24, 2010. 

(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)

Habs vs. Kings preview, NHL.com

Game Day Report, Canadiens.com

Morning skate interviews (video), Canadiens.com

Battle for ice time drives Habs’ success, by Pat Hickey

Subban’s Olympic stock believed to be rising, TSN.ca

Habs need big-time scorer, Sportsnet.ca

Breaking down Carey Price’s improvement, Sportsnet.ca

Rangers aren’t the same since Brandon Prust bolted, New York Post

Captain Toews or Crosby at Olympics? sportsnet.ca

Budaj unveils his new mask (video), Canadiens.com

Good morning, Montreal, lakings.com

Kings’ Quick talks about recovery from groin injury, lakings.com

Team USA’s projected Sochi roster looks golden, SI.com

319 Comments

  1. adadi says:

    Aaron Ward looks like he is about to upchuck while saying nice things about Pleks.

  2. adadi says:

    Is this working???? Boone have you fed the Hamsters? Seems I’m not seeing any new posts.

  3. Bill says:

    Strummer: the fault lies in both directions if the story is true. Therrien should be spaying the game plan to fit the strengths of the players who can win the game for him. At the same time, Subban has to be a team guy, and it should not fall to his best buddy to have to tell him to listen to the staff.

    Therrien established a long track record as a critic of Subban on l’Antichambre, and I think the onus is on him to mend those fences. It’s not like Subban had been bashing Therrien for a year on TV before he was hired.

    Subban is a tremendous asset, and if the fans are the reason he hasn’t been traded, thank god for the fans.

    • ffenliv says:

      He should spay the game plan?

      I can’t event figure out what word was supposed to be there, Bill.

    • GGtheHab says:

      I concur,
      MT: uh, hi PK, do you watch French TV? Ever hear of l’Antichambre? um, about that, you know it is just for fan reaction I say dose tings, eh? I always thought you were a great player…now here is how we are going to employ you as to capitalize on your strengths..
      PK: OK Coach, I am ready to work hard and learn whatever you can teach me, looking forward to learning your D system..kiss kiss hug hug

  4. Bill says:

    Dear god, not the measuring stick.

  5. Bill says:

    Well Trini, luckily for you and the rest of Toronto, Rob Ford will be too busy defending himself in court against charges of conspiracy to commit murder, obstructing justice, using a controlled substance, and uttering death threats to run for reelection. I consider you as being saved from yourself on this one!

  6. Danno says:

    Martin Jones in nets for the Kings tonight

    ________________________________________

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  7. adadi says:

    This game will provide a real measuring stick for how good the Habs really are.

  8. CH Marshall says:

    Probably been mentioned already that Bruins’ Dougie Hamilton is out with injury. My, how karma is a b*tch…

  9. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …if I’m right, Boullion and Murray are a combined -18

    …so a toss-up in that respect …but, seems to Me, playing a huge physical team like Los Angeles, a concrete-block like Murray would be the smart way to go tonight

    …let BouBou play vs the less physical teams

    …just My opinion for what it is worth


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