The Montreal Canadiens will try to end a horrendous five-game losing streak when they visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens have been outscored 26-8 during that span, including back-to-back losses where they allowed at least seven goals.
In Montreal’s most recent outing, on New Year’s Eve, the Canadiens dropped a 9-2 decision against the Washington Capitals.
“You’ve got to play a full 60 minutes. We’re playing five, 10 and then it slips away,” Canadiens forward Cole Caufield said. “So obviously again a learning experience, but you can look at these teams and learn from them and how they do play a full 60. And when they slip, they always find their game, so it’s something we can look to build on, and hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Jake Allen was in net for all nine goals against Washington. Two nights earlier, Sam Montembeault was left in for all seven goals by the Florida Panthers.
“It’s not fun to go through, but we have to find solutions, and that’s our challenge and that’s what we’re tasked with right now, and I think as a group we’re going to find out who we can count on,” Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. “You hope that’s everyone, you believe that’s everyone, and we’re going to have to find a way to get through this together.”
Nashville is also coming off a loss after an overtime setback against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, but still has points in five of its last six games and has pulled into the wild-card conversation in the Western Conference.
Nashville currently sits six points behind Edmonton for the second wild card, but the Predators also have three games in hand.
Predators coach John Hynes praised his team’s fight against Vegas after the Predators forced overtime on a goal by Filip Forsberg with five seconds left in regulation.
“I thought we worked and obviously made a push there in the third period and scored late. Those six-on-five situations are critical,” Hynes said. “You go from basically no points to giving yourself a chance to get two in overtime. So I thought that the push we made in the third and staying with it was good.”
Backup goalie Kevin Lankinen played the game against Vegas, and the Predators will turn back to starting goalie Juuse Saros on Tuesday. Saros has a .916 save percentage, a 2.75 goals-against average and a 12-10-5 record in 27 starts this season.
Both Allen and Montembeault have seen their statistics tumble with the Canadiens’ losing streak. Allen’s save percentage has dipped to .894, while Montembeault is slightly better at .904.
Forsberg leads the Predators with 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists), while Roman Josi has 28 (eight goals, 20 assists) and Matt Duchene has 27 (10 goals, 17 assists).
Nick Suzuki leads Montreal with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists). Caufield has 30 points (21 goals, nine assists) and Kirby Dach is third on the team with 23 (five goals, 18 assists). No other Montreal player has crossed the 20-point threshold.
Tuesday’s game will be the last of a seven-game road trip for the Canadiens.
–Field Level Media