The Montreal Canadiens will be taking on the Florida Panthers tonight at the BB&T Center. It will be the 2nd and final game of Montreal’s trip to Florida. The Habs are 2-0-1 against the Panthers on the season, with tonight being the final game of the season series. If the Habs win, they will lock up 1st place in the Atlantic Division. This will ensure home advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. With a fan base as passionate as Montreal’s, the 7th player could play a large part in the Habs playoffs success.
With a 13-3-1 record in the last 17 games, the Habs will look to continue their hot streak heading into the playoffs. Montreal is also currently riding a 4 game win streak, which started back on March 25th with a 3-1 win against the Sens.
With the Habs surging, the Panthers are heading in the opposite direction. They are 5-14-1 in their last 20 and are currently on a 4 game losing skid. As a result of their poor play, Florida has been eliminated from playoff contention.
After locking up a playoff spot on Thursday, the Habs will be looking to give Carey Price some well-deserved rest over the course of the final 4 games of the season. As a result of this, 23-year-old Charlie Lindgren with be getting his second career NHL start tonight. The Canadiens signed Lindgren to a two-year contract near the end of last season. After having a great year with the NCAA D1 team St.Cloud State University, the Habs saw great potential in the young goalie. Lindgren made his NHL debut in the 2nd last game of the 2015-16 season against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lindgren had a great game, making 26 saves in the 4-2 win, and picking up his first NHL win in the process. So far in the AHL this season, Lindgren is 22-17-1, with a .913 Sv% and a 2.62 GAA with the St. John’s IceCaps.
In other news, Shea Weber will be missing the next 2 games with a lower-body injury. Luckily for the Habs, Weber’s injury should only be a minor one and is only being held out of the lineup by the Habs management due to precautionary reasons. Nikita Nesterov will take his place in the lineup. After been scratched for a few games after missing several weeks with an undisclosed injury, Nesterov should be eager to leave a good impression on the coaching staff, and try to secure a spot in the lineup for the playoffs.
Jordie Benn will also be out of the lineup. Benn has missed the last 2 games with a upper-body injury. The Habs will be hoping to get Benn back in the lineup soon, as he has been a crucial part in the Habs recent success. Since being acquiring from the Dallas Stars on trade deadline day, Benn has really solidified the Habs defense, transition play and has also pitched in 2 goals.
Puck drop is at 7:30 PM EST. Go Habs Go!