The Montreal Canadiens are playing a more regular lineup tonight as they host the Colorado Avalanche for the first of two games in back-to-back nights.
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The first is at the Bell Centre tonight (7:30 p.m., RDS [Regional]) before going to Quebec City, a place where both teams have history, tomorrow.
There was some news prior to the game tonight, with Jeremy Gregoire being sent back to Junior and it being announced that Michael McCarron will miss six weeks with an shoulder injury. McCarron was likely to be sent to Junior anyways, but this makes his development take a snag for the moment.
Here is the expected Canadiens lineup tonight:
[Update: A couple of changes were made, Thomas for Weise and Pateryn for Bouillon.]
67 PACIORETTY – 51 DESHARNAIS – 15 PARENTEAU
38 SCHERBAK – 27 GALCHENYUK – 11 GALLAGHER
8 PRUST – 20 MALHOTRA – 49 BOURNIVAL
32 MOEN – 75 HUDON – 60 THOMAS
74 EMELIN – 76 SUBBAN
28 BEAULIEU – 43 WEAVER
44 DREWISKE – 64 PATERYN
Here are things that I am watching for tonight.
- Alexei Emelin‘s first game back on the left side. He’s playing with P.K. Subban so he will get a lot of ice time, and his mistakes will be glorified as the team seems like they have no true partner for Subban. Emelin makes the most sense there, but he needs to prove that he can handle it.
- Nikita Scherbak once again finds Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. It remains to be seen if this is due to Lars Eller being injured, or if they can picture this line starting on Opening Night. Creating chemistry is not easy, so every game that they have means something. It’s not only about who’s playing but who they are playing with.
- The new first line debuts tonight with Max Pacioretty, P.A. Parenteau and David Desharnais. Parenteau was always tabbed as an inconsistent scorer, but he is getting every opportunity to play a big role on this team. To acquire a potential first line forward for what was essentially a fourth line center in Daniel Briere, that’s a big coup. It’s up to Parenteau to perform, now.
- This could very realistically be a regular season lineup for Montreal, and then you realize guys like Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque are missing. That speaks to the depth of the Montreal Canadiens right now.