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NHL Preview: Montreal Canadians versus Florida Panthers

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The Canadians fly down south to take on the Panthers

The Montreal Canadians start their season back up after the Christmas break against a hot Panthers squad that has won 4 of their last 5. This will be their first meeting of the season. Last season, the Panthers won three out of four against Montreal in the season series.

However, this is their first meeting since the preseason in which Canadian’s forward Max Domi punched Panthers’ forward Aaron Ekblad. This could cause sparks to fly on the ice as this is one of the major storylines for this game.

Tale of the Tape

Montreal (19-13-5)

The Canadians are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. However, unfortunate news came out of Quebec that goaltender Carey Price will not be traveling with the team to Florida for their road trip opener due to a lower-body injury. With this, Anti Niemi will get the call in net.

However, this team still has the strength to win games. Previously mentioned Max Domi has led the team in points with 35 since his arrival to Montreal. He’s seeming to mesh well with this core after losing Alex Galchenyuk.

In addition, Johnathan Drouin is finally making Montreal home for himself as he is second on the team with 30 points on the campaign. This shows that no one in the NHL should be taken lightly.

Florida (15-14-6)

The Panthers are coming off of a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and have won 4 of their last 5 games.

The Panthers seem to be heading towards the right track after a slow start this season due to inconsistent play and injuries. However, there are still bright spots on this team such as Aleksander Barkov (second on the team with 36 points) and Johnathan Huberdeau (leads team with 42 points).

In addition, players from their AHL affiliate in Springfield have been playing well in their call-ups. Jayce Hawryluck scored his first career set of goals against Chicago on Sunday. Henrik Borgstrom has 2 points in his first five games this season. They may seem young and looking to find their groove, but look for them to make an impact soon.

Injuries/suspensions

Montreal

As previously mentioned, goaltender Carey Price is out with a lower-body injury.

Andrew Shaw missed practice due to personal dilemmas but is expected to play.

Brendan Gallagher did not practice due to an illness. Although he did travel with the team, it is unknown if he will play in this game.

David Schlemko was put on injured reserve due to an upper-body injury.

Joel Armia is out with a knee injury.

Florida

Nick Bjugstad is out with an upper-body injury.

Vincent Trocheck is out with an ankle injury. However, head coach Bob Boughner claims he should be back soon.

Derek Mackenzie is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Jaime McGinn is still recovering from back surgery.

Projected lineup

Montreal

L1: Jonathan Drouin-Max Domi-Paul Byron

L2: Tomas Tatar-Philip Danault-Brenden Gallagher

L3: Artturi Lehkonen-Jesperi Kotkaniemi-Andrew Shaw

L4: Kenny Agostino-Michael Chaput-Nicolas Deslauriers

D1: Victor Mete-Shea Weber

D2: Mike Reilly-Jeff Petry

D3: Brett Kulak-Karl Alzner

G1: Antti Niemi

G2: Michael McNiven

Scratches: Charles Hudon, Matthew Peca, Jordie Benn

Florida

L1: Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Evgenii Dadonov

L2: Frank Vatrano-Henrik Borgstrom-Mike Hoffman

L3: Troy Brouwer-Jared McCann-Denis Malgin

L4: Michael Haley-Colton Scevior-Jayce Hawryluck

D1: Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad

D2: Michael Matheson-Mackenzie Weegar

D3: Bogdan Kiselevich-Mark Pysyk

G1: Roberto Luongo

G2: James Reimer

Scratches: Alexander Petrovic, Juho Lammikko

When: December 28th, 2018

Where: BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

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Photo Credit

Photo Courtesy of Hero Sports 

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