Reeling Canucks clash with rebuilding Canadiens

Sports

Perhaps a visit from the reeling Vancouver Canucks will help the struggling Montreal Canadiens momentarily overshadow their internal issues and finally win back-to-back games this season.

In the wake of a major front-office shakeup, the Canadiens look to accomplish that feat by continuing their success over the visiting Canucks, who’ll try to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat on Monday night.

Both Montreal and Vancouver find themselves near the bottom of their respective conference standings. The Canadiens, who made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, have just six wins and 14 points through 23 games.

While Montreal avoided a third straight defeat with Saturday’s 6-3 win at Pittsburgh, the club announced the resignation of assistant general manager Scott Mellanby. Then Sunday, executive vice-president and general manager Marc Bergevin, with the team since 2012, was among three front-office figures fired by the team. Meanwhile, ex-New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton was hired as Montreal’s new executive vice-president of hockey operations.

“The time has come for a leadership change within our hockey operations department that will bring a new vision,” owner Geoff Molson told the Canadiens’ official website.

Back on the ice, Josh Anderson had two goals with an assist while Christian Dvorak and Tyler Toffoli each recorded a goal with two assists Saturday.

“We’re obviously not having the year we want,” Canadiens’ Jonathan Drouin, who snapped a 13-game goal drought Saturday, told the NHL’s official website.

“We have to keep it simple. Be patient.”

Even though Montreal recorded its second six-goal game in the last four, it allowed at least three for an eighth consecutive outing. The Canadiens’ 83 goals allowed are the most in the NHL.

Montreal’s Jake Allen made a career-high 47 saves Saturday. Allen has a 3.02 goals-against average this season, but 2.78 in nine home contests. Teammate Sam Montembeault has yielded seven goals in his last two starts.

Allen went 2-0-1 with a 2.99 GAA versus Vancouver last season. Toffoli, tied for the team lead with 15 points, had eight goals with five assists in eight games last season against the Canucks, with whom he totaled eight and six assists in 17 regular-season and playoff contests during the 2019-20 campaign.

Montreal is 14-0-4 against the Canucks dating to its last regulation defeat in the series — 5-1 at home on Oct. 27, 2015. Vancouver has just 14 points in 22 games, is mired in a 1-8-1 rut and still led by its own embattled coach Travis Green.

The Canucks led 2-1 after two periods at Boston on Sunday, but yielded two power-play goals in the third for a 3-2 defeat. They’ve totaled just 18 goals during that span, and will try to avoid losing seven consecutive road games for the first time since 2013-14.

“It’s got to sound repetitive, but a tough game to lose again,” Green said. “It magnifies the way things are going.”

Conor Garland recorded his sixth goal Sunday, but star Elias Pettersson has one point in his last nine games and played just 13 minutes against the Bruins. Pettersson has two goals in his last three games versus Montreal.

Jaroslav Halak made 39 saves against his former Boston team Sunday, meaning Thatcher Demko, who has a 3.66 GAA on the road, could be in Vancouver’s net Monday.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Blackhawks

More Blackhawks

Northwestern

More Northwestern

SportsClick

More SportsClick