Scouting Report: Columbus Returns to Montreal Hoping to Keep Its Win Streak Going

By Jeff Svoboda on November 27, 2017 at 7:45 am
Zach Werenski
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets (15-7-1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (9-12-3)

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2017, 7:30 p.m. (CENTRE BELL)

I thought the acquisition of Jonathan Drouin was a savvy move that would help the Canadiens compete for the Stanley Cup.

Well, I got that one wrong.

It's not that Drouin, with a team-leading 15 points thus far, has been a disaster. But the Canadiens essentially have been, with a seven-game losing streak after an opening win vs. Buffalo and then a five-game losing jaunt the Sabres were nice enough to end Saturday.

In between those streaks, Montreal played good hockey with a 7-3-0 mark, but the reality is the team has struggled to find itself this season. With a defense that hasn't been able to keep the puck out of the net – it's not good that human sieve Antti Niemi has been the best goalie on the team to this point in limited action – Montreal needs to go on a run to find itself in contention as many thought it would be this season. 

You Oughta Know: Jeff Petry

This is Big Ten country, so let's talk about the defenseman from Ann Arbor who spurned the Maize and Blue for Michigan State. He scored nine goals with 48 helpers in three seasons with the Spartans, including one as captain, before entering the NHL in 2010-11 with Edmonton. He came to Montreal in 2015 and posted the best offensive numbers in his NHL career last year with an 8-20-28 line with Les Habs. This year, he has three goals and three helpers thus far.

Fast Facts
  • The Blue Jackets have played only 24 games against Montreal all-time, going 12-9-1-2. Only Toronto, against whom the Jackets have played just 22 games, has played less games against the CBJ all-time.
  • Montreal is just 4-10-2 when outshooting opponents this year.
  • At 5-on-5, the Canadiens have been outscored 50-38 this season.
Previous Matchups

THIS YEAR: The Blue Jackets won the first meeting between the teams Nov. 14, taking a 2-1 overtime victory thanks to Zach Werenski's overtime goal and a pretty nice save by Sergei Bobrovsky.
LAST YEAR: The Blue Jackets won two of three meetings, but scored fewer goals each time. Of course fans remember the 10-0 win the open the season series, then the Jackets earned a 2-1 win in the second game between the teams. Finally, Montreal won a 1-0 game in overtime to take a single point vs. the CBJ.

Keys to the Game

ONE: Special teams are special. Montreal's power-play percentage of 15.3 is bad. How bad? That's 29th in the league, better than only Buffalo and, uhh, Columbus. It's time to take advantage of the man-advantage.

TWO: Win it close. The Jackets are are 8-0-1 in one-goal games this year. Most NHL games are going to be close ones, and games against teams trying to fight back into the playoff picture are likely to be tight.

THREE: Gets someone going. Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson broke goal droughts Friday. Do they keep the momentum flowing, or does someone like Alexander Wennberg score upon his potential return? The Jackets' big guns hope to keep firing.

Canadiens Projected Lineup

# Player Stats # Player Stats # Player Stats
54 Charles Hudon 23 GP, 2-7-9 14 Tomas Plekanec 24 GP. 3-5-8 11 Brendan Gallagher 24 GP, 9-5-14
67 Max Pacioretty 25 GP, 7-5-12 24 Phillip Danault 24 GP, 3-9-12 65 Andrew Shaw 24 GP, 4-5-9
41 Paul Byron 2 GP, 6-3-9 92 Jonathan Drouin 23 GP, 3-12-25 27 Alex Galchenyuk 24 GP, 5-5-10
20 Nicolas Deslauiers 5 GP, 0-0-0 25 Jacob De La Rose 15 GP, 0-0-0 42 Byron Froese 7 GP, 0-0-0
Defensive Pairs
# Player Stats # Player Stats
22 Karl Alzner 24 GP, 0-4-4 26 Jeff Petry 24 GP, 3-3-6
8 Jordie Benn 23 GP, 4-2-26 45 Joe Morrow 14 GP, 3-2-5
28 Jakub Jerabek 2 GP, 0-0-0 53 Victor Mete 23 GP, 0-3-3
# Player GP W-L-OL GAA SV% SO
31 Carey Price 12 GP 4-7-1 3.44 .890 1
37 Antti Niemi 7 GP 0-4-1 5.50 .845 0