MONTREAL – Within hours of their win over the visiting Minnesota Wild, the Canadiens will step back on the Bell Centre ice Monday night to wrap up the most gruelling sequence of their preseason schedule. Their fourth games in as many nights will pit them against the Florida Panthers.
The Habs’ celebration of their Sunday night victory over the winless Wild will be short lived as they’ll now prepare to square off against a team that remains unbeaten in the preseason. Monday night, Peter DeBoer’s squad will be looking to keep their streak alive after winning their first three contests in a row. All of the Panthers’ games thus far have been played on the road. While the Canadiens have taken part in five games since Wednesday, Florida will arrive in Montreal rested, having not played since their 3-2 win over the Bruins on Saturday night.
Jacques Martin’s Team A, slated to hit the ice against the Panthers, will be looking to redeem themselves after being in action for the Habs’ two preseason losses at the hands of the Bruins and Senators. Tomas Plekanec has been one of the group’s best players to date, managing to find the back of the net in each of his two games.
It currently remains uncertain as to whether Hall Gill will dress for the Habs on Monday after leaving Saturday’s night game with an injury to his eye. The extent of the damage however, appears to not be too serious.
Carey Price will be back for his third stint manning the crease for the Canadiens and should once again be expected to play the whole game.
Florida will be able to count on the contributions of several of the club’s veterans such as Tomas Vokun, Stephen Weiss, Radek Dvorak and David Booth when they take to the Bell Centre ice on Monday. Booth will be playing his first game in Montreal since suffering a concussion following a check from Jaroslav Spacek last March. He was only able to play 28 games in 2009-10 due to post-concussion symptoms.
After being present for Tyler Seguin’s professional debut last week, Montreal fans will now be introduced to the player chosen immediately after Seguin in the NHL’s last draft. 18-year-old defenseman Eric Gudbranson will suit up for Florida, hoping to make a case for himself with the franchise this season. He’ll be helped out on the blue-line by veterans Bryan McCabe, Bryan Allen and newcomer Dennis Wideman.
With only two preseason games left after Monday night’s matchup and 53 players still listed on the Canadiens’ roster, expect several cuts to be made to the team over the next few days.
Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.