Bienvenue au Columbus. Ce soir, le <<Blue Jackets>> au Columbus fait un match de hockey avec des Canadiens aux Montréal.
Tonight is the first meeting of the season, and as I usually do, I look over the offseason changes of the opposing team before any further breakdown. After the collapse of Carey Price, the Habs had an extremely subpar season, and drafted low as a result, making vast moves to their roster.
Let's bury the lead on the moves. In free agency, they let younger guys in Gabriel Dumont (TBL); Michael Bournival (TBL); Morgan Ellis (STL) and Darren Ditez (WSH) go. They also let guys in their prime go in Ben Scrivens (EUR); Victor Bartley (MIN); and Tom Gilbert (L.A.). They also waived goalie Mike Condon (MTL --> PIT --> OTT). They also traded winger Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals; winger Tim Bozon to Florida and their best defenseman in P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators.
They signed KHL star Alexander Radulov; goalie Al Montoya; winger Chris Terry; and defenseman Zach Redmond. They acquired defenseman Jonathan Racine from Florida; center Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks; and defenseman Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators.
With that said, the Habs are currently in the state where they were last year- a top the NHL without a regulation loss with the league's best goalie. The Habs are also in the start of a back to back matchup, returning to the Bell Center to battle Philadelphia tomorrow. The Habs' two leading scorers have 10 points each in Shea Weber and Alex Galchenyuk.
With the Lineups out there, the Habs don't have any significant injury issues, while the Jackets are only without David Clarkson with a back injury. Al Montoya will get the start for Montreal; Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets.
Alex Radulov--Alex Galchenyuk--Brendan Gallagher
Max Pacioretty--David Desharnais--Andrew Shaw
Artturi Lehkonen--Tomas Plekanec--Paul Byron
Phillip Danault--Torrey Mitchell-Bryan Flynn
Alexi Emelin--Shea Weber
Andrei Markov--Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu--Greg Pateryn
Scratched: Daniel Caar, Joel Hanley
Injured: Zach Redmond
Columbus Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner--Brandon Dubinsky--Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad--Alex Wennberg--Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert--William Karlsson--Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell--Lukas Sedlak--Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski--Seth Jones
Ryan Murray--Jack Johnson
Markus Nutivarra--David Savard
Scratched: Sonny Milano, Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington
Injured: David Clarkson
Thing to Look At
1. According to Jennifer B. Cutler of Hockeybuzz,
"Blue Jackets have the top power play in the league with an outstanding 35% success rate...It Columbus has the 4th best penalty kill with an 88.9% rate of success... Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been excellent for the Blue Jackets, having appeared in all eight of their games and sporting a 2.02 goals against average and .941 save percentage"
This show where the Jackets' strengths are in the early going, but can the power play, penalty kill, and Sergei Bobrovsky hold up to the Canadiens?
2. Shea Weber is not on the decline yet, and with his heavy shot in the Eastern Conference, more teams have to play him more often now than when he was in Nashville.
3. The Canadiens defensive group is older, but is the Jackets defensive group better?
4. The Canadiens bottom six guys are veteran guys on the decline. The former Sabres in Mitchell; Flynn; and Byron could all probably be AHLers.
5. Shocked that the Habs have Lekhonen and Danult make the team out of camp. Also, Pateryn now has a full time spot after sending Segerachev to junior.
Players to Watch
Montreal- Tomas Plekanec. He has no goal this season, and three assists. The former top center is off to a rough start and need to breakout at some point.
Columbus- Brandon Dubinsky. To stick with the point of veteran centrs struggling, Dubi has only one assist in 8 games. One point. The number one center needs to step up as soon as possible.
Enjoy the games tonight. More to come...