GameDay Caterwaul / Thread: Florida Panthers at Montreal Canadiens

<em>Litter Box Cats’ 2018-19 Live Discussion Forum: Game 77</em>

Panthers (33-31-12 78P) at Canadiens (40-28-8 88P)

  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Bell Centre - Montreal, QC
  • ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, RDS, TSN2
  • ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM (D/B), 640 WMEN (PB), 1370 WAXE (TC), Thunder 100.3 (Keys)
  • SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers,  #GoHabsGo, #FLAvsMON, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
  • ENEMY INTEL: Eyes On The Prize
  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 4 of 4 (1-2-0)
  • LAST MEETING: @FLA 6, MTL 3 (Recap) - 2/17/2019
  • NEXT MEETING: 2019-20
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Reimer (13-11-5 .902/ 3.02 0SO) vs Price (32-22-6 .917/ 2.51 4SO)
  • PLAYER STATS: Florida / Montreal/

Scouting Report (Courtesy of the Field Level Media/AP)

As the Montreal Canadiens look to solidify their hold on an Eastern Conference wild card slot, they can eliminate another rival from the race when the Florida Panthers visit Montreal on Tuesday.

While the Panthers (33-31-12) are mathematically still alive for the wild card, losses in four of their last five games have all but officially ended their playoff chances. Florida’s season-long defensive issues again doomed the team in its last two games, a 7-3 loss to the Bruins on Saturday and a 7-5 loss to the Maple Leafs on Monday.

”It’s embarrassing the way we’ve played the last three or four games, me included,” defenseman Aaron Ekblad said after Monday’s game. “It’s unfortunate, and as part of the leadership group I take full responsibility for it. The best we can do is learn from it and move on.”

Montreal, meanwhile, can’t afford to take any opponent lightly. The Canadiens (40-28-8) are just two points ahead of the Blue Jackets for the final wild card position. After a crucial matchup in Columbus on Thursday, the Canadiens continue a tough season-ending stretch when they face Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Washington and Toronto over their last four games.

The good news for the Canadiens is that they’ve been in strong form, recording seven points from their last four games. Montreal recorded three consecutive wins before dropping a 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina on Sunday.

”We have to have another week like that,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “That starts with this Tuesday against Florida to have another good week. We’re taking it one game at a time. ... The guys will be ready to roll up their sleeves and play on Tuesday.”

Carey Price is likely to once again step between the pipes for the Canadiens, playing for the 24th time in the team’s last 25 games. Price’s durability and outstanding play has been a big reason for Montreal’s presence in the playoff chase, and the goalie has been particularly sharp as of late. Over his last seven games, Price is 4-2-1 with a .943 save percentage and a 1.71 goals against average.

Roberto Luongo had been announced as Tuesday’s starter for Florida, though Luongo ended up being called into action against the Maple Leafs. Samuel Montembeault was pulled after allowing two goals on his first four shots faced, leading to Luongo playing virtually the entire game (53:30) in relief.

Since Monday’s outing was just Luongo’s second appearance in the Panthers’ last nine games, however, the veteran could still be ready to make the start in his hometown of Montreal. Luongo has a 2.39 goals against average and .924 save percentage in 40 career games against the Canadiens.

Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have been doing their best to carry the Panthers’ offense. Over Florida’s last 10 games, Barkov has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and Huberdeau has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists).

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Panthers and Canadiens this season. Montreal won the first two games, though Florida was victorious in the most recent encounter, a 6-3 result on February 17.

Tuesday in the Atlantic

  • BUFFALO (31-35-9 71P) at OTTAWA (26-43-6 58P) 7:30 p.m. /

Idle: TBL (122P), BOS (101P), TOR (96P), DET (66P)

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