In this article, you will get all information regarding Dec. 28, 2022: Canadiens at Lightning — Five things you should know
Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Lightning game Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa (7 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).
The matchup: This is the second of four games between these Atlantic Division rivals. The Lightning took the opening game in the season series, 5-1 at the Bell Centre on Dec. 17. The Canadiens, who are seventh in the division, had a 1-1-1 record in their three-game pre-Christmas road trip, which normally would be considered good, but it could have been better. They finished the trip with a 4-2 loss in Dallas after leading 2-0. The Lightning, which has been in three consecutive Stanley Cup finals, lost its last two games, but is 7-3 in its last 10 and sits third in the division with a 20-11-1 record.
Suzy hits a speed bump: Captain Nick Suzuki is the Canadiens’ leading scorer, but he has dropped off his point-a-game pace with 31 points, including 15 goals, in 34 games. Suzuki has gone three games without a point and has one goal and one assist in his last seven games. Cole Caufield is the Canadiens’ top goal-scorer with 19 along with nine assists. Kirby Dach, who has bounced on and off the top line with Suzuki and Caufield, is the only other Canadien with more than 20 points. He has five goals and 17 assists for 22 points.
Allen deserves better results: Jake Allen has lost his last two starts despite stopping 66 of 71 starts for a .929 save percentage. For the first time in two months, he has a .900 save percentage, but his 3.26 goals-against average is one of the reasons why he is struggling with a 9-13-1 record. Backup Sam Montembeault is coming off a 3-2 overtime win in Arizona on Dec. 19 and is 3-1-1 in his last five starts He has a 6-3-2 record with a 2.89 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is normally in the Vézina Trophy conversation, has an okay 13-9-1 record with a 2.53 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The trade revisited: Whenever these teams play, there are inevitable comparisons between Jonathan Drouin and Mikhail Sergachev, a couple of first-round draft choices who were traded for each other in 2017. Injuries and anxiety issues have prevented Drouin from living up to expectations and, while he has played better since recovering from a broken rib, he has only five assists in 18 games this season Sergachev is on the Lightning’s third defence pair, but he plays on both special-teams units and averages 23:37 a game, second only to Victor Hedman. And he’s Tampa Bay’s top-scoring defenceman with five goals and 27 points, more than half of them on special teams.
Lightning strikes often: Tampa ranks fourth in offence with an average of 3.59 goals a game and has the ninth-best power play with a success rate of 26.3 per cent. A healthy Nikita Kucherov is fifth in NHL scoring with 49 points and is tied with Connor McDavid for the lead in assists with 36. Brayden Point leads the Lightning in goals with 17, one more than captain Steven Stamkos. Other double-digit goal-scorers are Nick Paul (13) and Brandon Hagel (12), including two against the Canadiens this month.
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Dec. 28, 2022: Canadiens at Lightning — Five things you should know
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