Canadiens @ Predators preview: One Grand Game

MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 18: Jacques Martin of the Montreal Canadiens waves Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens to the bench in the final minute of the NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre on October 19, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Sabres defeated the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators will celebrate a major milestone tonight with their 1,000th regular season game, and if you're in an historic mood, there's no better team to welcome into town than the Montreal Canadiens, the NHL's most storied franchise. The Preds have a number of events on the agenda to mark the occasion, starting at 3:30 p.m. on the Bridgestone Arena plaza, ahead of a 6:00 p.m. start for tonight's game.

Follow after the jump as we set the table...

Tale Of The Tape

Montreal (6-7-2) at Nashville (8-5-2)
MTL Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. MTL Defense
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
 MTL Offense 2.5 (11th) 31.3 (7th) 8.1 (14th) 2.3 (12th) 27.7 (5th) 917 (15th)  MTL Defense 
 NSH Defense   2.5 (16th)   32.1 (30th)   921 (13th)   2.5 (11th)   26.2 (26th)  9.7 (5th)  NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
 MTL 5-on-4 2.6 (30th) 59.4 (4th) 4.4 (30th) 4.7 (12th) 34.7 (1st) 864 (20th)  MTL 4-on-5
 NSH 4-on-5 3.7 (6th) 57.0 (23rd) 935 (2nd) 5.4 (20th) 41.9 (25th)  12.9 (15th)   NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Fortune has not looked favorably upon the Canadiens so far, as they're driving the Shots For & Against battle decisively both at even strength and on special teams, but they just haven't reaped the rewards yet. So don't be fooled by that overall record, this is a strong opponent coming into Bridgestone Arena tonight.

Montreal Canadiens

The Habs are represented within SB Nation by...


Alternative logo courtesy of Earl Sleek

The Canadiens' leading goal-scorer these days is Max Pacioretty, who suffered that horrific injury when Zdeno Chara ran him into a stanchion late last season. He seems to have made a full recovery, and is off to a fine start:

Max Pacioretty

#67 / Left Wing / Montreal Canadiens



Nov 20, 1988

2011 - Max Pacioretty 15 6 5 11 1 8 0 0 0 59 10.1

TSN reports that Andrei Kostitsyn is not expected to play due to injury, Scott Gomez is returning to play, Mike Cammaleri will be a game-time decision, and that Peter Budaj will get the start in goal. Their lines from Friday were as follows:

Pacioretty - Desharnais - Cole
Moen - Plekanec - Gionta
Darche - Eller - Palushaj
Gomez - Nokelainen - Blunden

Gorges - Subban
Gill - Diaz
Spacek - Weber

Nashville Predators

It's a real shame that David Legwand appears likely to miss tonight's game, considering his status as The Original Predator. At least on other fronts, injured Preds have been returning to the lineup, such as Kevin Klein and Sergei Kostitsyn (even in limited action).

For now, of course, that puts the spotlight on Craig Smith, who stepped into Legwand's center position between Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist to such great success against Anaheim Wednesday night.

Don't be too surprised if Barry Trotz shuffles up those lines, however, as Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn get back up towards 100% he'll be focused on the best matchups he can create against Montreal, not necessarily just go with lines that are currently clicking.

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