The Canes take on the Canadiens in Montreal to end the first half of the season, and though he won’t play, SEBASTIAN AHO IS ON THE ICE !!!!
He had a solo skate yesterday and was in his non-contact jersey for optional skate this morning. Bill Peters said there’s zero chance of him playing tonight, but we could see him as soon as the next game against Ottawa on Jan. 30th, thanks to time off from the All-Star Break.
Otherwise, surmising the lines for tonight is a little tricky, since the Canes had an optional morning skate and Peters used some hinted language yesterday, but let’s use what he said (paraphrasing) and see if we can pick out a couple of things.
1) When the Canes start second half of season, expect Darling to play strong. Lol okay Bill, we hope, but that makes it sound like Cam Ward (12-6-2/2.76 GAA/.907 SV) will finish the first half in net (which was later confirmed to be the case). Mike Maniscalco did post a picture of goalie coach Mike Bales with Darling, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
2) Sure the goalies are struggling, but the defense holds a lot of blame. This could hint at a shuffling of defensive pairs, but for now we haven’t heard otherwise. Could just be BP-speak for “get to it boys.”
3) I think McGinn looks really good with Ryan and Williams. Okay, so that’s probably a line.
Needless to say, it’s almost completely up in the air, but here’s what we could see, based on what we saw in Pittsburgh:
Teuvo Teravainen - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Brock McGinn - Derek Ryan - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Injuries and scratches: Josh Jooris (healthy), Klas Dahlbeck (healthy), Sebastian Aho (concussion/lower body).
The Habs come off of a win against the Avalanche that broke Colorado’s win streak at 10 (sidenote: whoever bet on this first half for the Avs after last season deserves all the money).
All-Star defenseman Shea Weber (foot) will be out until after the break, as well as forwards Andrew Shaw (lower body) and Philip Danault (concussion), who took a slapshot to the face against the Bruins on Jan. 13. The three combined for 58 points in the first half of the season, and all were top 10 point-producers for the Canadiens.
Carey Price had a day of rest after holding the sharp Avs shooters to two goals on Tuesday, so let’s peg him in net.
Here’s what we saw from the Habs against Colorado, which seemed to click well:
Max Pacioretty - Paul Byron - Charles Hudon
Alex Galchenyuk - Jonathan Drouin - Nicolas Deslauriers
Artturi Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Jacob de la Rose - Byron Froese - Logan Shaw
Karl Alzner - Jeff Petry
Jordie Benn - Jakub Jerabek
Victor Mete - David Schlemko
Scratches and injuries: Daniel Carr (healthy scratch), Joe Morrow (healthy scratch), Shea Weber (foot), Philip Danault (concussion), Andrew Shaw (lower body), Ales Hemsky (concussion-like symptoms).