NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 10th
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (37-23-7) at St. Louis Blues (30-28-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Montreal Canadiens will try rally around an
injured teammate tonight, when they visit the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade
The Canadiens picked up their fifth straight victory with a big 4-1 win over
the rival Boston Bruins on Tuesday, but the game was overshadowed by a violent
collision between Bruin defenseman Zdeno Chara and Montreal forward Max
With the Canadiens leading by a 4-1 score late in the second period,
Pacioretty was charging down the left side boards near the benches. Chara went
to pinch Pacioretty off and forced him into a dangerous spot where a pane of
glass separates the benches. His head hit the padded support before he tumbled
straight to the ice. Pacioretty laid motionless on the ice for several minutes
before he was carried off on a stretcher and later taken to a Montreal
Chara was handed a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct on the
play, but the NHL announced Wednesday that the big defenseman will not face
any suspension or fine for his role in the collision.
Meanwhile, Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion, as well as a fracture of
the fourth cervical vertebrae and is sidelined indefinitely. He is
still at the hospital for further observation.
"Our main focus right now is Max," Canadiens forward Scott Gomez told his
team's official website. "We're also doing our best to think about the next
game, if nothing else because that's what Max would have wanted."
Pacioretty's injury has also helped take the focus off what could be one of
the most anticipated goaltending matchups of the season, as Montreal netminder
Carey Price is expected to face his former teammate Jaroslav Halak this
Halak is in his first season with St. Louis after spending the first four
years of his NHL career in Montreal. The 25-year-old won the starting job from
Price before the start of last year's playoffs and Halak almost single-
handedly willed the eight-seeded Canadiens to the Eastern Conference finals.
But, even after the stellar postseason, Price was still considered the Habs'
goaltender of the future and Halak was traded to St. Louis in the offseason.
The move was not popular among many of the Canadiens faithful this summer, but
Price has quieted the doubters with a Vezina-caliber season in 2010-11.
Price enters tonight with a 32-21-6 record and seven shutouts and is also
sporting a .924 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average this year.
Halak, who was recently activated from injured reserve after a hand injury, is
19-17-6 with a .907 save percentage and 2.63 GAA.
One of the players that Montreal acquired for Halak was the hero in the
Canadiens' victory over Boston. Lars Eller, a first-round pick by St. Louis in
2007, posted his first career two-goal game in the 4-1 victory and has seven
goals on the season.
James Wisniewski and Brian Gionta also had goals while Price made 30 saves.
The regulation win also pulled Montreal within three points of Boston for the
Northeast Division lead.
Meanwhile, the Blues have won their last two games, sweeping a home-and-home
series with Columbus. St. Louis posted a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory in
Columbus, two days after the Blues beat the Blue Jackets in a 5-4 shootout
decision at Scottrade Center.
Chris Stewart scored his second goal of the game 54 seconds into OT, as St.
Louis overcame a three-goal deficit to stun the host Blue Jackets. Stewart
tied the contest in the third period, minutes after Ian Cole scored his first
NHL goal for the Blues.
Halak made 19 saves, including just five in the third period, to earn the win.
It was Halak's first game action since Feb. 14, but he is expected to get most
of the starts the rest of the way.
St. Louis recorded an overtime win in Montreal last season and has taken two
of three and six out of nine in the series. The Canadiens have claimed
victories in each of their last two trips to the Gateway City.
The Blues are 19-11-4 as the host this season, while Montreal is 16-15-1 as
the visiting club.
03/10 11:02:06 ET