Preview: Winnipeg Jets visit La Belle Province to face the Montreal Canadiens in matinee action

Richard Wolowicz

The Winnipeg Jets roll into Montreal to play the struggling Montreal Canadiens in this Superb Owl matinee.

The Montreal Canadiens have been a mess since November. A strong possession team has been instructed to be a dump and chase team even though they are small and fast; a team built more for carrying the puck in. On the flip side the Jets are coming in hot and playing Al Montoya ahead of Ondrej Pavelec for this matinee game.

Andrew Berkshire of Eyes on the Prize pointed out that the Habs only loss to the Jets came when Randy Cunneyworth decided to scratch PK Subban and Lars Eller. The Habs have outscored the Jets 30-10 in the games they have played since Jets 2.0 became a thing. The Jets have not won in Montreal since the Carlyle/MacLean era. It has been a long time.

The Montreal Canadiens are icing a lineup which included the worst defenseman in the NHL, Douglas Murray,  playing alongside recent call up Nathan Beaulieu. The iron curtain of Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin make up the second pair and reigning Norris Trophy winner PK Subban is paired with Josh Gorges on the first pair. Unfairly and bizarrely maligned Raphael Diaz is a healthy scratch along side Francis Boullion.

Up front the alignment depends on the availability of Michael Bournival. If the rookie is recovered from the flu either he or Daniel Briere will play along side Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. This is the line most likely tasked with shutting down the Scheifele line and could pose as a challenge for Scheifele as Plekanec has already taken down Crosby and Toews this season. The second line will feature Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, and Brendan Gallagher. They are the line that will most likely draw the top defense and shutdown line as they are usually Montreal's main and only threat to score. Lars Eller will centre the third line flanked by recent call up Christian Thomas and Rene Bourque (most likely). The fourth line will be centred by Briere, Bournival, or Brandon Prust with Travis Moen, Bournival, or George Parros flanking whomever the centre may be.

Carey Price will be in goal and though he has been "struggling" lately that has a lot to do with the total collapse of the Canadiens system. He is coming off of a game against Tampa Bay which saw him allow one goal in regulation that went in off of Subban. The Jets have a tall task in beating him this afternoon.

The Jets have to make sure to go after the Habs as the Habs are on the second half of a back to back. Make sure to check out Eyes on the Prize for more Habs coverage.

*Update

According to Montreal media Parros is out and Bournival is in on the fourth line with Thomas and Moen. Prust is on the third line with Eller and Bourque. These lines will change a million times throughout the game.

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