Mired in something of a mini-slump, the Montreal Canadiens could
use a game against a franchise they have thoroughly dominated for
more than 20 years.
The weary Canadiens, losers of three of four, will look to
extend their winning streak against Phoenix to nine games when they
host the Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Montreal has lost twice in 18 matchups with the Coyotes since
they relocated from Winnipeg prior to the 1996-97 season. The
Canadiens have 12 wins and four ties against Phoenix in that
The Canadiens (20-12-3) allowed 19 total goals during a 9-0-1
stretch Nov. 19-Dec. 7 that featured solid victories over
Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Boston and two against Washington.
Montreal, however, has fallen off that pace with three losses in
the past week, likely due in part to playing 11 games in 19
“We’ve played a lot of hockey in less than three weeks,” coach
Michel Therrien said. “This team is drained. They’re empty. The
lemon is squeezed of all its juice.”
That seems apparent with the Canadiens managing three goals in
their last four games. Their lone victory during that stretch was
1-0 in overtime against the lowly New York Islanders. They’ve gone
1 for 19 on the power play over the previous seven.
“When, physically, you’re tired, the execution is not quite
there, and you make bad decisions,” Therrien said after Sunday’s
2-1 home loss to Florida. “They go hand in hand.”
Despite their fatigue, the Canadiens had their chances against
the Panthers. They pulled within one in the third period on Alex
Galchenyuk’s power-play goal before failing to convert on two
Florida penalties – including 35 seconds with a 5-on-3.
“We had an opportunity to win the game, and we wanted to win the
game,” defenseman P.K. Subban said. “We have to capitalize on our
The good news for Montreal is that it does not play another
back-to-back set before getting a chance to recharge during a
week-long holiday break from Dec. 21-28.
The Coyotes (18-9-5) are heading north to play the first three
on a four-game trip through eastern Canada. Phoenix also visits
Toronto and Ottawa before the swing ends in Buffalo.
Phoenix lost for the third time in its last five Saturday, 3-1
to Carolina. The Coyotes had earned points in three straight
The team has managed to produce lately without several key
players. Captain Shane Doan has missed four straight with an
unknown illness, defenseman Derek Morris has also missed four in a
row and left wing Lauri Korpikoski has been out for the last
Doan told the team’s official website that he has responded to
medicine and is feeling better, but his status for the road trip
“We’ll have to wait and see how I’m feeling after a couple
days,” Doan said Saturday. “I’m starting to come around and now I’m
comfortable and able to get out and do things.”
The Coyotes earned both of their wins against Montreal since
relocation within the first five meetings. They haven’t beaten the
Canadiens since a 4-2 home victory Dec. 9, 1998. The other win came
in their first game in Montreal as the Coyotes on Oct. 28,