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Gameday Preview: Cats vs. Habs

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The Eastern Canadien road trip comes to it’s final stage tonight as the Florida Panthers visit the streaking and NHL point leading Montreal Canadiens at the Centre Bell this evening.

That’s right, a Jacques Martin team that is flying, and leading the NHL in points seems to be an oxymoron, but it’s all true.  The Canadiens are looking to win their fifth straight game of the season and their fifth in a row at home against the kitty Cats who come in to town a bit wounded and feeling sorry for themselves.

The Habs have won six out of their last seven games after dropping two of the first three games of the year are coming off a 3-1 victory over the new York islanders where Alex BAuld made his first start of the year for Montreal.  Alex was signed this year to back up Carey Price who is doing his best to make the ghost of Jaroslav Halak go away.

Andrei Kostitsyn leads in goals with six, and points with 10.  While P.K. Subban the young and exciting defenceman, who was taken three picks after the panthers choose Michal Repik in the 2007 draft (hmmmm), leads the team in assists with 6 and is picking up where he left off in last season’s playoffs.

Andrei Markov is scheduled to make his first appearance of the year after coming off knee surgery this past May.  Perfect, as he only makes the Canadiens power play that much better.

Montreal features a number of offensive weapons, but the line that I like the most when it’s together is the Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez and Michael Cammalleri line, often referred as the Giant Mexican Squid line by the gang at Four Habs Fans.

In Florida the top line is often called the Sunrise Express, but the way they’ve been playing lately, I’m going to coin it the Two and a Half Men line as long as Little Stevie has anyplace on it.  Speaking of Little Stevie, apparently he’s going to miss tonight’s game as he turned his ankle in practice yesterday, once again proving that he’s just too frickin’ frail to be counted on as the number one centre on this team.

WHEN, I ASK, WHEN IS MANAGEMENT GOING TO GET IT THROUGH THEIR HEADS?

The Cats are 1-4 on the road despite only being outscored by three goals.  yea a bunch of people are most likely thrilled with that.  Not this writer!  There has to be some more scoring.  Even the Century Village Line (Stillman, Reasoner, Dvorak) has cooled off.  Now with Stevie out there will be more pressure for someone to step up.

Dire straights I tell you are coming as scoring is the culprit for this teams woes.  Well that and the lack of desire to play.  It’s pretty amazing isn’t it that an entire team can actually suck at once!  I mean on any given night you can have a player who’s not having his best game, and is completely out of it.  The Panthers however have a knack for having all 18 skaters doing this.

Keep an eye on Darcy Hordichuk tonight as he apparently has revenge on his mind for the Travis Moen and Erik Gudbranson incident from the preseason.  While it’s nice to know that someone is attempting to step up, let’s not get carried away from the game plan boys.

Look for Carey Price to be in goal tonight for Montreal.  As for Florida, who knows, and does it matter? Tomas Vokoun is 4-7-2 against Montreal in his career, while Scott Clemmensen is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA.  If we continue to score at an anemic rate, it won’t matter if we lose 2-1 or 7-1.

I’d like to see some desperation tonight and some much move lively play.  It’s up to Pete The Bore to get this team ready, and the players need to execute.  They should be embarrassed by their recent performance Thursday night against Ottawa.

Here’s the preview for tonight from TSN.

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Tags: Alex Auld Andrei Kostitsyn Andrei Markov.giant Mexican Squid Carey Price Jacques Martin Little Stevie Stephen Weiss

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