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Game Preview #74: Rookies expected to debut vs. Canadiens

Plus a homecoming for two fan favorites

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 7:00 EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Eyes on the Prize

Montreal Canadiens (20-42-11, 51 points, 8th Atlantic, 16th East)

at

Columbus Blue Jackets (34-33-6, 74 points, 6th Metro, 10th East)

A midweek game between two teams who won’t make the playoffs. Should be one to skip, right? WRONG. There are a couple of interesting storylines to follow tonight, and it’s worth showing up at Nationwide.

Player to Watch

Kent Johnson

The #5 overall pick from last summer’s draft is expected to make his NHL debut tonight. If you’ve been following us this season, you may have heard a thing or two about him. He’s a highly skilled player, and projects to be an elite playmaking forward. He will start out on the wing, on a line with Justin Danforth and Oliver BJORKSTRAND. He also practiced with the second power play unit.

Jackets Notes

Nick Blankenburg practiced with Jake Bean on Tuesday, which suggests he could make his debut tonight as well. He signed as an undrafted free agent last week, after spending the last four years playing at the University of Michigan, where he was teammates with Johnson and served as captain this season.

The Other Bench

Two popular former Jackets will make their first return to Columbus: forward Josh Anderson and David Savard. Anderson scored his 100th career goal this week, but unfortunately left practice early yesterday. Hopefully that injury doesn’t prevent him from playing ... It has been a massively disappointing season for Montreal, a year after a miracle run to the Stanley Cup Final. The coaching staff and front office have been overhauled as a result. Under former coach Dominque Ducharme, they started the season 8-30-7. Under interim coach Martin St. Louis, they are a much improved 12-12-4. More important than the record, under St. Louis the Habs have seen young core players like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield elevate their games ... The injuries keep coming, with goaltender Jake Allen placed on the IR with a season ending groin injury. Samuel Montembeault will hold down the fort in the meantime, but help is on the way: longtime netminder Carey Price is nearing a return. He has missed the entire season following offseason knee surgery and a stint in the league’s substance abuse program. He is traveling with the team to Columbus but will not play tonight.

Season Series

01/30/2022 CBJ 6 @ MTL 3
02/12/2022 CBJ 2 @ MTL 1
04/13/2022 MTL @ CBJ

Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.59 (29) GPG 3.16 (13)
3.79 (31) GAPG 3.71 (30)
13.4% (31) PP% 17.2% (26)
74.8% (28) PK% 78.7% (18)
46.4% (28) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.3% (23)
45.8% (31) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.5% (24)
7.8 (25) 5v5 Shooting % 9.2 (5)
.911 (23) 5v5 Save % .908 (27)
Nick Suzuki, 19 G Leader Patrik Laine, 25
Nick Suzuki, 36 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 47
Nick Suzuki, 55 P Leader Patrik Laine, 53
Michael Pezzetta, 70 PIM Leader Vladislav Gavrikov, 60
10-21-7 Home / Road 18-15-4
3-6-1 Last 10 2-5-3

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Patrik Laine
Jake Voracek Cole Sillinger Emil Bemstrom
Kent Johnson Justin Danforth Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Brendan Gaunce Carson Meyer
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Adam Boqvist
Nick Blankenburg Jake Bean
Elvis Merzlikins
J.F. Berube
Montrea Canadiens
Cole Caufield Nick Suzuki Rem Pitlick
Mike Hoffman Jake Evans Josh Anderson
Brendan Gallagher Christian Dvorak Joel Armia
Paul Byron Ryan Poehling Jesse Ylonen
Joel Edmundson Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov David Savard
Jordan Harris Corey Schueneman
Samuel Montembeault
Cayden Primeau