Atlanta Thrashers (3-8-0) at Canadiens (6-2-2) 7:35pm, Bell Centre
Put on your Hillary Clinton costume and head down to the Bell Centre and scare some little kids. It's All Hallows Eve, and the scariest lady in America is a popular costume choice.
The Thrashers are 3-2 in their last 5 games after starting the season 0-6 and firing head coach Bob Hartley. Ilya Kovalchuk has 7 points in his last 4 games. Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg has never beaten the Habs, he is 0-5-0 against them in six career games.
Carey Price is getting the first home start of his career. He will follow Saturday's eight consecutive saves in the shootout by trying to keep the lowly Thrashers off the scoresheet. The fans are going to be in full effect, cheering him on.
Andrei Markov, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev have been outstanding so far this year. The Canadiens have been using their speed and puck-moving skills to generate a ton of power play opportunities. The power play is on fire so far, the Habs are operating at a 30.4% efficiency rate this year. If the Thrashers take early penalties, look for the Canadiens to jump all over their chances.
Another good sign is the Canadiens are staying out of the penalty box. Sure, their penalty kill isn't as good as last year but a big part of the success is a lack of people like Mike Johnson and Sheldon Souray taking stupid penalties.
The Canadiens will honour Roman Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinski and Alex Kovalev, who all reached the 1000 game plateau this year. Patrice Brisebois will be playing in his 800th game as a Canadien tonight.
Francis Bouillon is out of the lineup tonight with an undisclosed shoulder injury. Josh Gorges should take his place.
Rumours and Speculation
There are a few Eastern teams off to disappointing starts this year. Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers haven't been getting the goaltending they were looking for and the talk is that Jaroslav Halak could be headed to either team. The players heading the other way are rumoured to be Colby Armstrong from the Pens or Sean Avery from the Rangers.
Both are gritty forwards who can skate and play a physical game. It's still early in the year however, and who knows what the Habs goaltending situation will look like down the road? There's too much talent in the system right now to give up a blue-chip goaltending prospect for a goon like Avery.
Finally... How much fun is it to watch the Leafs get embarassed on home ice? 7-1 to the Washington Capitals. Say what you will about the Habs, they NEVER get blown out like that, especially on home ice.